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Playtime, IT IS IMPORTANT!
- December 19, 2016
- Posted by: Randall Reiners
- Category: Picking the Best School
“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” goes the old saying. Does it mean just working makes Jack bored and unhappy? Well, if it is traditional schooling and memorization, quite often. I think it means something much more serious. When this saying came into common use “dull” meant not smart, below average and other words that are not modernly considered “politically correct” or considered “unkind”.
Students, especially when younger, have limited attention spans when their minds can absorb new information without breaks. Often it’s about 15 minutes and gets longer as learning skills improve. However almost all traditional schools run one hour classes, a “one size fits all attitude” that is convenient for administrators and teachers, but not best for students.
Three things are best for students to maximize their learning using play theory and have been implemented at Yorktown Education and cannot be done at traditional schools.
First, Students should receive their learning in effective digestible periods of time. These should be followed by breaks. Yorktown Education has multiple breaks throughout the day and activity time variety based on the development of the student and nature of the learning objectives. Younger children may even receive four recess periods a day.
Secondly, the learning timetable and methodologies should change according to the personal development of each child. The traditional grade level system makes this impossible. Yorktown Education runs on a cohort system where students move according to personal development not age, and methodologies, timetables and play breaks change by cohort.
Thirdly, the type of play itself is important! Modern parents have over structured playtime for many children, with over supervision and rules. Free play, where children make up games, rules and create new things are critical to development. Yorktown Education supervises the play times but encourages free play to develop social skills, negotiation, and empathy. Teamwork, three-dimensional thinking, flexibility, resilience, motor skills and grace also come from learning to “ free play” with new people. This leads to happier children who learn better and go on to happy successful lives.
The most successful national school system in the world, Finland, also follows these playful tenants. Below are a few great articles about Finland’s school system: