For many of us over the past year, screens have been a saving grace—connecting us with loved ones, enabling us to work from home, and allowing our children to continue participating in school.
But, as we are slowly released from the grip of the pandemic, we need to start thinking how to put screens back in their proper place. We know in our gut that too much screen time is bad for kids, depriving them of opportunities for free play, social interactions, eye contact, and direct response from loving adults.
After this year of unnatural dependence on screens, it may be hard to get back to what we know is best for our children. Jean Rogers, of the Children’s Screen Time Action Network, offers some positive suggestions for parents and educators for the months ahead. Read here.
“As a play advocate for children, I know that children are in serious danger right now,” writes Angela Hanscom, a pediatric occupational therapist. “It has been over a year now since the pandemic first hit and children everywhere are suffering—sometimes silently.”
“According to psychiatrist Stuart Brown, when children are deprived of play, the consequences can be catastrophic. In 2014, he was already sounding the alarm of societal and global play deficits on children. The pandemic has significantly heightened and worsened this growing problem.”
In the name of “safety” today’s children are experiencing “play deprivation on a scale never seen before.” Read more.
Spring is a time of startling transformations. From one day to the next snow disappears, new shoots appear, birds return. It’s the time to head outside daily in search of such surprises.
It is amazing how a simple prop can help sharpen a child’s observation skills. All you need for this project are cardboard tubes, construction paper or paint, a stapler, and a length of yarn.
1. Paint the tubes or cover with paper.
2. Place the tubes side by side and staple together in the shape of binoculars.
3. Punch a hole in the side of each tube and tie a piece of yarn through to make the binocular strap.
4. Head outside and explore!
In 1880, the great educational pioneer who began the first Kindergarten wrote these words: “Play is the highest level of human development in childhood . . . It gives . . . joy, freedom, contentment, inner and outer rest, peace with the world.”
What would he say today about the way modern Kindergarten has become an extension of the academic ladder with worksheets, testing, and homework crowding out time to play?
“Now is an opportune time to familiarize ourselves with Froebel’s original ideas, and to use them to challenge inappropriate practices used with our youngest children,” writes Francis Wardle. Read more.
We are no longer alone
We are sharing a sorrow
We are sharing a loss
We are sharing an emptiness . . .
We are not alone
And we never were really alone.
It’s hard to believe that only a year ago the word “pandemic” seemed like something you’d read about in a history book, not in the daily news. Now, 12 months later, right in step with the hopeful season of spring, we are slowly emerging—changed, scarred, and relieved that we have made it through this far. However, as with any traumatic experience, the effects of this experience are far from over, especially for young children.
Beverly Falk, a teacher educator in New York City, shares her efforts over the last three semesters to teach and model the importance of caring, reciprocal relationships as a path to healing for both children and adults. Read more.