One of the largest challenges we face in our fight to save play is debunking the myth that play is a "luxury." That's why we were delighted to come across this articulate letter to the editor in response to a new policy implemented at a Wisconsin elementary school. Both before school and during recess, students must now walk for 10 minutes in a single file line.
Clearly, we love to see children moving around outside, but not at the expense of creative, unstructured play. Walking in a single file line does nothing to exercise the imagination, nor does it promote the development of vital skills like curiosity, resiliency, social integration, and the ability to assess risk.
Concerned parent Heidi Faris insists:
"Recess is a right for all children, not a privilege. According to the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, article 31 recognizes 'The right of the child to rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities appropriate to the age of the child and to participate freely in cultural life and the arts.'
Play is a need for child development, not a want. It would be the same as depriving them from eating lunch (Young Children, 2009.)
Parents, teachers and principals, I encourage you to stand up for your children. Give kids back the right that they deserve."
Well said, Heidi! Read her full letter here.
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When you sign, we'll get you started with a PDF copy of How to Save Play at Your School—featuring 15 action ideas for teachers and parents to make school grounds and school days more playful.