Play deprivation is bad for children. Among other things, it promotes anxiety, depression, suicide, narcissism, and loss of creativity. It’s time to end the experiment.
—Peter Gray, psychologist and author
Elbow deep in the water table, Tina tells me she is going to another school. When I ask how her new school will be different, she says, “It has just a little mud.” My heart aches as I wish for the perfectly coiffed and dressed-to-the-nines little girl to always be able to paint, mess about, and play in mud and water and sand. Her new school will be perfect for her family, but not for Tina. She will not have to think, problem solve, or use her creativity or her imagination. Her new school has a reputation for “getting children ready” via worksheets and direct instruction that looks like real school. Definitely no mud. I am sad for adults who don’t trust mud to teach, but sadder still that I was unable to gain the trust of her parents.
In loving memory of Gryphon House author Leanne Grace, MEd, we are sharing pieces of her inspirational writing every Wednesday. Leanne was the director of professional development at Hildebrandt Learning Centers and a lifelong advocate for early childhood education. She inspired the early childhood community to prepare children as lifelong learners with her ability to find the extraordinary in the ordinary. One person can make a difference, and Leanne did just that. She will be sorely missed.