Kids Need Recess Especially in Kindergarten
What is Kindergarten supposed to look like: preschool or first-grade? Do you question your kindergarten curriculum? The research is pointing to the importance of play as the core curriculum for kindergarten. This is not to say that kindergarten can’t have “academics” woven throughout, but play is essential for young children to develop and outdoor time is precious and important time. And then if you think of Emotional Intelligence … that socialization skills that are the most accurate predictor for success as an adult and that book, Everything I Know, I Learned in Kindergarten (or in the Sandbox?? You know which book I’m talking about, right?), then it all starts to make sense.
Maybe adults all should get group play dates in the sandbox. Especially those who have trouble sharing! Do-overs. They’re not just for Kindergarteners!
The full article is here. Key paragraphs below.
How recess helps kindergarteners develop
Recreation has a purpose far greater than mere fun, IPS teachers say
Yet in recent years, as schools are pressured to ace standardized tests, recess and playtime have been squeezed out of daily school schedules for more “academic” pursuits. To take away playtime from a 5-year-old, McMullen said, schools might as well take away lunch. It’s that essential to learning.
- Teacher Shirley Chappell says play, in children so young, is intimately connected with learning. Watching her students climb like ants on the jungle gym, she sees children whose hands and arms are getting a workout that strengthens them for the skill of writing, and tests eye-hand coordination that aids in reading. She also sees children, many of them from apartment complexes where it is not always safe to send children outside, exercising, enjoying fresh air and getting a chance to grow in ways only the playground can teach.
- Indiana University early education Professor Mary Benson McMullen sees two kinds of play at work in schools: the kind of directed play teachers use to teach specific skills and the kind of unscripted free play that children choose. Both, she says, are very important to the development of young children. But she says the importance of free play shouldn’t be underestimated.
- “People, from the very beginning, need to learn how to get along together,” she said. “That is one of the fundamentals of kindergarten. And you do that by sharing toys and by sharing experiences and making up rules together that you can all live with.”
- “Brain research shows that if we enjoy something, positive emotion helps build those neural pathways a lot,” she said. And, she said, it does so “more quickly, more strongly than something that is boring, something that has a negative emotion.”