The kids don’t play anymore . . .
“…the streets and sidewalks are eerily quiet. You hardly ever see a child. No kids riding bikes. No kids playing shinny. No kids running wild in packs until their moms call them in for supper. It’s as if the kids have vanished.” [I had to look up shinny. It’s street-hockey, on ponds, in Canada.]
Thus starts an article we stumbled upon as we ramp up the nature and outdoor play components at Ampersand. The article is interesting, and reinforces things we feel strongly about at Ampersand, and why unstructured play and being outside is so important to us.
The power of play:
“In play, children make their own decisions and solve their own problems,” Prof. Gray writes. “In adult-directed settings, children are weak and vulnerable. In play, they are strong and powerful. The play world is the child’s practice world for being an adult.”
“Those kids playing shinny until dusk weren’t just wasting time. They were learning life lessons in problem-solving, negotiation and resilience. And they were better off without your help.”
There are more and more studies being done that show the power of reconnecting children (and the rest of us too) with nature. Decreases in anxiety, stress and obesity. Increases in attention, self-esteem, confidence, problem-solving skills, science concepts.
We’ll be starting a weekly nature play trip for our Primary grouping, and we’re really excited about it, but engaging with nature doesn’t have to be an involved planned trip. There is plenty that can be done in your own backyard. Let us know how it goes!