Empowering Kids Through Play

Empowering Kids Through Play

The Young Child Expo and Conference was a success last week. My colleague, Deb Vilas and I presented on a very hot topic right now, Play in Early Education: The Antidote to Technology Overload. We broke down the negative effects of too much screen time and what it does to kids; problems with attention, sleep, self-regulation, impulse control and poor social skills.

We also discussed the academic pressure that both the teachers and children are feeling. The curriculum is incredibly tense and doesn’t allow kids to learn in a healthy environment. Sitting at a desk, with a pencil in hand and memorizing 120 site words isn’t the most optimal learning space for a kindergartener. School doesn’t become exciting anymore, it becomes work and we are turning them off at a very early age. Kids begin to act out and misbehave both in the classroom and at home.

So our antidote is to bring child centered techniques into the classroom setting. Play is the most natural way for children to learn and express themselves. By being with kids, allowing them to lead, explore, and problem solve with full acceptance of who they are and where they are at the moment, we are empowering them. Kids will begin to strengthen their skills in self-regulation, impulse control, communication, self-confidence, mastery over experiences in their life and feel safe to express their emotions and thoughts. They are building their self-identity.

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We broke it down into a four components to help the attendees absorb the information and see themselves using it with their kids.

We even had some fun role-playing and provided the audience with an opportunity to try it out. We made it playful by providing the audience with noise makers shaped as lips and they were told to whistle every time we made a mistake. It was a captivating presentation that brought up a lot of great discussion from the audience.

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We hope to bring this presentation to other conferences to help caregivers, educators and professionals working with kids.

If you would like to learn more about this topic, please leave a comment below or email me at Childlifemommy@gmail.com 

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4 responses to “Empowering Kids Through Play

  1. Just the topic that has been rattling around in my head for the last few months (day and night!) as we look for a Kindergarten/ school for my oldest! I am so put off by the amount of screen time (even if it is “interactive” and “educational”) in kindergarten. Then a few schools have informed me “kids don’t like rest time” and “we sometimes play movies during rest”– what!? Anyways… before I get too wordy I just want to thank you for making me feel like I’m not alone in this feeling of unease (putting it mildly) with the lack of play in classrooms! Wish I could have seen this presentation in person!

    • Sarah, I couldn’t agree more. My oldest is in kindergarten right now and the workload is intense. We are lucky in the sense that he doesn’t have a full day, because I know it wouldn’t be balanced with play it would just be more work.
      I too, have to be very aware of excessive screen time. I put a limit in the mornings and afternoons. I want them to play and learn the way they are suppose to.
      Just keep the balance at home and advocate for your little one as much as possible. 😉

  2. I love that you demonstrated play during your presentation. I feel as though play is something than people talk about or say that they understand, but a demonstration can really bring home how easy it is to play and how important it is to build communication and relationships and also it is essential for healthy development.
    I am a Child Life Student and I have found your blog really helpful in my journey towards becoming a Child Life Specialist. Thank you!
    I just started my own Child Life blog about my journey as a student. I would love it if you could check it out and maybe give me some feedback! https://threepeaschildlife.wordpress.com/

    • Hi Elise, Thank you so much! I have already started following on FB and Twitter and will be happy to do so on WordPress. Best of luck on your child life journey. 🙂

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