Open Discussion Forum

  • 1.  The Opposite of Play Is...

    Posted 08-06-2019 10:04 PM
    Dr. Stuart Brown, founder and president of the National Institute For Play, says that the opposite of play is not work, it's depression. Do you agree? Do you see a reduction in play in our early childhood programs, especially our public prekindergarten and kindergarten programs? Do you think there is a connection between the reduction of play and the increase in suspension and expulsion? How do we address the achievement/opportunity gap while still ensuring that children have adequate time to play!

    Tonya Satchell
    Columbia MD

  • 2.  RE: The Opposite of Play Is...

    Posted 08-08-2019 12:05 AM
    Such a great point! Play matters so much.

    Heather Saunders
    Kontu Inc.
    Ancaster ON

  • 3.  RE: The Opposite of Play Is...

    Posted 08-08-2019 07:47 AM
    I referenced Dr. Brown in a training I did about why adults need play. I absolutely think that because children are moving and playing less, their anxiety and negative behaviors increase. I've talked to so many elementary teachers that have decided to come to preschool because they were frustrated by the restrictions put on students. I'd love to see more of the project approach in elementary schools; we use it in preschool and it gives the children so many opportunities to learn, build resilience, move, share their interests.

    Amy Latta
    Lead NC PreK Teacher
    "All that is gold does not glitter; not all who wander are lost." --J.R.R. Tolkien

  • 4.  RE: The Opposite of Play Is...

    Posted 09-22-2019 07:52 AM

    I too see Dr. Browns point on adults need for play. Children learn through observation and modeling. As with social-emotional learning, children won't "get it" if a teacher is screaming to be kind and stop yelling to a child. The adult needs to practice these skills as well in order to best teach it. I believe the same holds true for play. The more the teacher finds value in play in their own life, the better they will be able to support children through play. 
    I've posed the question of what do the adults in the group do to play themselves a few times now. I often hear the same few responses: "Try to join in the dramatic play area with my students", "I play on my phone", "I watch netflix", etc. 
    If we want children's play to be separated from screen time, what precedent do we set for ourselves?

    Heather Ha
    PPPIF Facilitator
    Program Manager
    CHI St. Joseph Children's Health
    Lancaster, PA

  • 5.  RE: The Opposite of Play Is...

    Posted 08-09-2019 03:57 PM
    What an important topic. I feel like everyone on this forum agrees on the importance of play, but the repercussions of play-deprivation are not always fully hashed out. 

    I stumbled across this article today and was so disturbed. Play isn't just important, it's a HUGE piece to the bigger puzzle. It's really almost scary. It's up to us and other educators, stake holders, and policy makers to ensure play and social emotional learning in schools.

    Annika Mehta
    Owner, Story Spark
    Amarillo, TX

  • 6.  RE: The Opposite of Play Is...

    Posted 09-23-2019 06:50 AM
    Yes! I like to point out that when we watch children in play it often looks quite serious. Children are not always "happy" in a frivolous sort of way, but - happy in an engaged focused way when they are playing. Play also includes conflict and problem solving.  Our work can also resemble play when we are immersed and in the flow. 

    Getting to a shared definition of play is the hard part. For example, I recently talked to an OT who says she works through play by letting kids make their letters (write) with sensory materials (playdough or sand).  Although I see that is a playful approach, it is not play in my eyes because she is always "correcting" the children from making snakes and cookies and birthday cakes ( with playdough) and directing them to her task. 

    It is a rare and wonderful program that lets kids play deeply and allows teachers to really listen to the play to research the questions children are asking through play. It seems that often we are still focused on preparing activities for kids to do and letting them play on the perimeter rather than letting play be the focused experience.

    Carol Murray
    Bard Nursery School
    Red Hook NY