Sunday, February 10, 2019

puppies (and kids) must play

Puppies and kids must play. An Arkansas Republican legislator has proposed new legislation that would require every elementary school student in the state to be allowed 40 minutes of recess each day, including out of doors unstructured play when the weather is OK. It is odd to me that legislation would be required for this, as teachers and administrators if they had been trained in child development would have already put such policies in place and would have rebelled against state standards, policies and practices that prescribed otherwise.

In any case, the research tells us that the legislator is right. I applaud his efforts and have my fingers crossed. In Finland, they have more recess time and out of doors recreation time than any other country in the European union and it works for them. When I visited a school in Helsinki, the kids (and teachers) all had their slippers on for indoor school, while those out of doors were wearing shoes. What a very fine thing. Lovely in fact.

Children having adequate opportunity to play offers important benefits to the school environment. Students come in from rigorous play prepared for more rigorous academic engagement. Teachers, too, need the emotional and mental release that happens when kids are successfully engaged in out of doors play.

The photo, once again shows large Froebel blocks used in out of doors play.  In this case, the blocks have been arranged by the kids to serve as an obstacle course with students jumping or climbing, one to another. Perhaps these should also be used in other schools.

Yesterday I had a design class in collaboration with the Eureka Springs Community Center and the Eureka Springs School of the Arts. Next weekend I'll be in St. Louis for a class with the St. Louis Woodworker's Guild.

Make, fix and create. Make space for kids to engage in the real world to enhance their academic learning.


  1. Rep. Jana Della Rosa does a lot wrong, but she's doing something right here. Good for her!

  2. I've asked my local State Senator (a Republican) to co-sponsor the legislation. The evidence as to the value of recess is overwhelming and should not be a partisan issue. Just ask the American Council of Pediatrics.