Open Discussion Forum

  • 1.  Play Gap

    Posted 06-25-2019 01:05 PM

    Poor students play less than middle class students?

    How can we get more playtime in the day for our kids that have fewer parks and fewer chances to play?

    James Morales
    Head Start
    Far Rockaway NY

  • 2.  RE: Play Gap

    Posted 06-26-2019 09:45 AM

    I know with children who are at risk for having a larger achievement gap entering Kindergarten, the push in some low-income areas may be teaching alphabet, numbers, etc., even using worksheets and all the things we know are not developmentally appropriate for preschool children (I am assuming you are referring to preschool?).  Here is an NAEYC link to play and articles that help you or administrators know how to connect play with learning.
    Children learn best and quickest through play. That is their route for learning; therefore, making sure the daily schedule has plenty of play (both indoor and outdoor) with language, literacy, math, and science intentionally worked in is essential.  Some examples include having a play restaurant set up where there are menus with pictures of food with the name of the food written underneath.  Then have little note pads and pens ready for the server to take people's orders.  At my place I hadn't even thought about it, but the cook at the restaurant even found the instructions to a game in the classroom that she brought over and was using as the "recipe" she was following.  Another person decided to write the recipe for what she was cooking in a notepad.  You can have a veterinarian office where there is a notebook to sign their name when they arrive and wait for their name to be called when it is their pet's turn to see the vet. Then have a notepad for the vet to write down the care instructions for their pet.  We had empty pill bottles for the children to use to give the pet owner.  They can write in the instructions the number 2 when they instruct that the pet needs to take 2 pills each day.  
    However, maybe you were referring to school age since you wrote 'students'.  I guess you just need to point the decision makers to the articles on the importance of play.  You could even set up some play-based learning areas in your classroom to show administrators how it works and have them watch the children in action and show how scores are improving, etc.  
    Tell me more why you wrote your comment and more about what kinds of help you are looking for.

    DeAnn Jones
    Co-Facilitator for the Family Child Care Interest Forum
    Discovery Place Child Care, LLC
    Bozeman, MT

  • 3.  RE: Play Gap

    Posted 06-26-2019 11:08 AM
    A reason for this might be the extra responsibility children from lower socio-economic backgrounds have.  Very often, they are tasked with more chores and helping around the house because there is no choice for the parents.  The parents I work with always feel bad, but know the only way to survive is to get the children to help.  Also, thy don't have the financial resources for open ended toys. 

    I would be interested in, however, a study on the imagination of children in that bracket.  I am guessing they would be very creative in their play.  Limited resources would lead to a lot of imagination.  When you can't afford a kitchen set, sticks and rocks become great imaginative replacements.

    Melissa Meyer

    Melissa Meyer
    Early Childhood Special Education
    Jackson MS Public Schools
    Jackson MS

  • 4.  RE: Play Gap

    Posted 06-26-2019 11:20 AM
    I think what it comes down to in the end is testing and people not understanding why play is important. I find myself having to explain to parents why I have large portions of the day dedicated to free play and why I do not have many teacher directed play time. 

    Adults direct so much of the day that many children when left to do try out their own ideas are left confused and don't understand that they can make their own choices. This has wide ranging implications when it comes to decision making, risk taking and learning how to think outside of the box. 

    I think if we can make it so testing in the early education arena or at all not a requirement for funding we can make true head way increasing play in lower income areas. 

    People continue to think more classroom time is needed to close the achievement gap when it's the opposite at this age. We need to offer more free play.

    Temesha (Ms. Tessie) Ragan
    Family Child Care IF Facilitator
    Perfect Start Learning
    Family Child Care Provider
    Edwards, CA

  • 5.  RE: Play Gap

    Posted 06-27-2019 07:28 AM

    Hello James,

    What a huge epidemic this is becoming. One of the strongest components of this truly is the aspect of a "safe space" to play. Often our children from families with fewer resources live in neighborhoods in which parents keep their kids inside to shelter them in safety and in turn limit their outside play.  Within the homes we often see lack of space or materials. I think the introduction of "loose parts" or open-ended materials can be pushed with families within these contexts. These materials often cost little to none and can provide an abundance of imagination and higher level thinking. 

    Transportation becomes a great barrier to providing opportunities for green space or any safe outdoor space. 
    One way our local community is providing spaces for children to play is by opening up the school playgrounds every day after school and leaving out balls, and other equipment to give the children a space that they can continue to feel is theirs.

    Heather Ha
    Education Coordinator
    CHI St. Joseph Children's Health
    Lancaster PA

  • 6.  RE: Play Gap

    Posted 07-08-2019 10:15 AM
    At our school children have three recesses. Moring recess is for 25 minutes, lunch recess is for 30 minutes, and afternoon recess is for 25. Our day begins at 8:30 and ends at 3:00.
    I am so thankful our school understands the need for children to play!! These recesses are for childre ages 2 - 5.

    Carol Spruiell
    Dallas TX