September 26, 2011 Kerala Taylor

Everyone's talking about why children need to play in school. (So why do we keep taking it away?)

The bad news is that most kids aren't getting the time and space they need to play in school. The good news is that parents and teachers aren't happy about it.

Our Back to School Pledge to save play in our schools is gaining steam with over 1,500 signatures; meanwhile, the blogopsphere has been abuzz about the importance of play in school. The following posts alone have generated more than 450 comments and 1,800 Facebook likes and shares.

Despite widespread notions that play is a "luxury," many of us seem to intuitively understand that placing undue restrictions on children's playful instincts not only defies common sense, but negatively impacts their learning and health:

5 freedoms I enjoyed that my daughter won’t

At six months pregnant, like most moms and moms-to-be, I’m finding plenty of things to worry about. When I’m not fretting over my daily calcium intake or environmentally friendly diaper options, I find myself plagued with anxiety about the longer-term realities of child rearing today. I want to give my daughter the freedom I enjoyed as a child—freedom to move, imagine, and create. But in today’s paranoid, litigious, and test-happy culture, will I be able to? [Read more on]

Also see great comments to this piece on Free Range Kids and

What American Schools Just Don’t Understand (Or, Why My Family Might be Moving to Finland)

My husband and I are expecting our first baby in December, and we just might be moving to Finland within the next few years–unless schools around here get better soon. And by “better,” I don’t mean that they start churning out higher test scores. [Read more on]

Play Is Under Attack in Our Schools: 7 Absurd Stories That Say It All

This week, our Congress will be returning from their August recess -- a yearly tradition that recognizes the human need to take a break from a grueling schedule and spend some time playing. At the same time, as children across the country return to school, some will find that they have no recess at all. [Read more on the Huffington Post]

5 Ways to Green Your Child’s School Experience

Kids need time to move outside—it’s essential to their health and well-being. But sadly, lots of students aren’t getting enough space and time during the school day to breathe fresh air, interact with nature, and engage in unstructured play. And considering that children spend about 20 percent of their waking hours in school, that’s cause for concern. [Read more on Green Mama's Pad]

Kindergarten: All Rigor and No Recess -- What Happened to Play?

What happened to free play? What was once a staple in Kindergarten classrooms around the country has disappeared, replaced with structured “learning time” that focuses on curriculum designed to improve test scores and meet state standards. In fact, many schools have scrapped recess in favor of more classroom learning time. [Read more on iVillage]

3 Done-in-A-Day Volunteer Projects to Encourage Outdoor Play at Your School

Your kids need time and space to play in school. It’s not just about having fun—physical activity during the school day can help their attention, classroom behavior, and achievement test scores. [Read more on]

5 Reasons Why Kids Should Play in School

As your children settle back into school, will they be getting enough time and space to play? Sadly, despite numerous studies proving that play is vital to children's learning and health, schools across the country are slashing recess; piling on homework; and banning tag, soccer, and even running on the schoolyard. [Read more on]

Also see great comments to a slightly expanded version of this piece on Care2.

Creative Development: 3 Ways to Get Kids More Play Time at School

Much ado is made about the dismal state of school lunches, and for good reason. Daily helpings of tater tots and frozen pizza certainly aren’t giving our children the nutrients they need. But there is another, equally damaging threat to our children’s health that we also need to address: the lack of space and time that kids get to move and play at school. [Read more on]

Join us to defend our children’s right to play by signing our Back-to-School Pledge!

When you sign, we'll get you started with a PDF copy of How to Save Play at Your School—featuring 15 action ideas that parents and teachers can take this fall.


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