Play Today

Letter to editor: Play is how children learn

October 28, 2010

Thumbs up to Liza Sullivan, one of our Park-A-Day Summer Challengers. After visiting a new park or playground every day during the summer, she still had the energy to attend New York City's Ultimate Block Party on October 3 and write about her experiences in a letter to the Chicago Tribune.

Liza and her co-writer Rachel Weaver Rivera were two of 50,000 people who converged on Central Park to celebrate the importance of outdoor play. In their letter, Liza and Rachel reference an earlier Chicago Tribune article, "Kindergarten: It's the new first grade" and make the following comments:

"Nara Schoenberg presents two diverse approaches to early childhood education: play verses the more academic approach, as advocated by Tom Loveless, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, who is quoted, "I think even an advantaged child who attends a play-based kindergarten pays some sort of price because that is a portion of the day that could be going for cognitive development but isn't."

We disagree with Mr. Lovelace. Our experiences with early childhood education show play is neither a waste of time nor an impediment to a child's cognitive development. We agree with the organizers of the party that a home and school environment promoting playful approaches to learning in pre-school through second grade has proven to foster and develop children's skills. In both school and family settings, play is the most natural, effective way children learn."

Liza is a shining example of a community advocate who is not playing around. She's serious about the cause of play and committed to spreading the word. You can learn more in the great blog she kept over the summer about her experiences in the Park-A-Day Challnnege.

Read the full letter here (and be sure to show your support by commenting on, liking, starring, or sharing it!)

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