A new article by early childhood education consultant and author Rae Pica is called "How Misinformation is Hurting Our Children." She writes that "there are myths wreaking havoc on childhood and early education...I want the facts – and child development – to dictate how children are raised and educated." She outlines what she sees as the four biggest myths currently circulating throughout society:
"Myth 1. Earlier is better
Myth 2. Children learn by sitting
Myth 3. Digital devices are necessary for learning
Myth 4: Play is a waste of time"
In his book, Adventures in Risky Play, Rusty Keeler also tries to dispel some of the misunderstandings about children and play. He writes: "I understand that in a modern world full of pressures and constraints on children’s time in and out of school, something as obvious as play needs some scientific support and lobbying…play has been limited, sidelined, sublimated, and even decimated for way too many children in our busy, high-achieving, over-stimulated, over-scheduled, over-protected, overly biased, overly adult-oriented view of what children should be doing, accomplishing, competing and completing." He goes on to provide "scientific support for play," beginning with a list of play benefits from the American Academy of Pediatrics. Here are a couple:
What is Your Yes?
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Adventures in Risky Play: What is Your Yes? goes to the heart of risk-taking and children. As educators working with young children, we all have boundaries and feelings around what risky play is allowed. Rusty Keeler invites us to examine the cage of boundaries that we have created for ourselves and our children. He challenges us to rattle our cage and discover where the lines are movable. In our role as educators and caretakers, when we allow children to play and confront risk on their own terms, we see them develop, hold their locus of control and make choices on how to navigate the bumpy terrain of a situation. What better teaching tool for life is there?
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The problem is that many of these myths have been translated into policies that programs have to follow: state early childhood standards, school kindergarten entrance requirements, and standardized achievement tests. Further, many who advocate approaches to "closing the achievement gap" view play as a determent to the learning of minority students who struggle in school. My wife worked in a Black public school where the principal declared, "when I come to observe the ECE program, I don't want to see any children playing!"
Thank you for sharing my blog post. I'm convinced that nothing will change for the children and ECE until we debunk these harmful myths circulating throughout society!