I Didn’t Learn This Way in School; The Extinction of Play in Early Education

extinction children_playing_school

What is happening with our education system? Why is there such an emphasis on academics and push to make kids learn in a specific way? Where is all the free play and exploration?

I don’t remember this as a child. For me, school was an exciting place that had a good balance of academics, recess and learning through hands on activities. I developed my communication and social skills, self-confidence, problem solving abilities and felt encouraged by my teachers and peers to push myself.

I certainly wasn’t reading site words, writing sentences and learning math with counters in kindergarten. I wasn’t required to hold a pencil for the majority of my day, to perfect my handwriting skills and to learn in this cookie cutter way.

In fact, I didn’t feel the academic pressure until I entered high school.

My favorite memories in early education were based around play and I feel like my child, along with the others are getting the short end of the stick.

As a Certified Child Life Specialist, I understand child development and know how important play is for kids. It is the way they learn about their world, discover who they are and process their experiences. It comes natural and doesn’t have to be taught. Why would we take away one of the key elements in the way children learn?

What are your thoughts about these changes in education?

Related Articles:

Why is Play Important?

The Battle Withe Homework Begins

Crisis in the Kindergarten



2 thoughts on “I Didn’t Learn This Way in School; The Extinction of Play in Early Education

  • Hi Shani-
    I am in EDUC 829 this semester 🙂 just checking out your website! One of the main reasons I decided to pursue child life and leave full-time teaching is because of educational trends and the focus on the product as opposed to the process. I tried to implement play and making learning meaningful for my students, I tried to provide as many hands-on experiences as possible, but it was very difficult with what we were required to accomplish in terms of the curriculum (and this was only Pre-K!!) I also worked in a public school KG and felt so stressed by what we had to teach and the fact that these children were only allowed 20 minutes of playtime/recess a day… give or take. The class I had very much needed play to support their learning and social experiences. It was very hard. Anyways, so excited to learn more about the benefits of play in the Therapeutic Play course 🙂 🙂
    PS- You have a great website!!

    • Hi Christy, welcome to this site and the course. I agree that the push for academics and testing is taking a toll on children.
      We have recently relocated to Northern California and the school system is much different. My little guy is now in kindergarten and there is much even balance of play. The whole school has a a real recess and K-3rd are out on the playgrounds three times a day! It has made a huge difference in my kiddo’s lives. See ya in a couple of weeks!