I’ve just offered my opinion in an Edutopia poll about what is the best thing for students to do in the summer holidays. My answer is the title of this blog… let them play!
I had just received a Tweet from Deborah Meier about her latest book “Playing For Keeps” http://www.deborahmeier.com/PlayingForKeeps.pdf In this book she and he co-writers talk about the educational value of play, particularly in respect of the fact that many schools in the United States have shortened or abandoned playtime for the children.
In a post further back in this blog I wrote about my love for the book that I consider the best written that I have ever read… Harper Lee‘s “To Kill A Mockingbird” http://malbell.wordpress.com/2010/05/26/an-appreciation-of-to-kill-a-mockingbird/
In the book the majority of the story happens when Dill (the City child) visits his aunt in rural Alabama in his summer holidays. He befriends the two motherless children Jam and Scout. They play games in the background of racist bigotry but they see only dangers, mysteries and adventures. In other words, they act like children have always acted throughout our history on this planet.
The summer holiday should be a time for play and for imagination to run riot.It is about freedom to explore and, ideally, it should be freedom to explore the great outdoors in the best weather and when school feels a million miles away.
When they do get back to school though they should have their playtime back…as Deborah Meier and her co-authors write in their book, the importance of play in the intellectual and emotional development of children cannot be overestimated and under no circumstances should it be shortened or abandoned to give children more time to study for tests!