American Academy of Pediatrics Report on Play

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 12, 2007 12:52 pm
PostPost subject: American Academy of Pediatrics Report on Play
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The American Academy of Pediatrics Report on Play represents a cannon shot fired across the bow of Mr. Bush's other failure, namely NCLB. The report is the first major statement about play coming from a credible and challenging source. As the debate over NCLB intensifies, the report brings the “importance of play” into sharp relief.

But if Play is ever to be taken seriously, it will have to break out of the early childhood box it has been relegated to and be recognized as a core factor in the transformation of the learning culture. How important is play? The report calls play a “birthright.” That is a big step in the right direction.

As I have written previously, Play offers education a historic opportunity to re-organize itself upon a scientific foundation, or, as the Report put it, to take root and take wing. In play and in its evolutionary expression of symbolic agency—in puppet play—resides a universal field theory of communication that equips Education with that foundation.

Meanwhile, another Report published by the National Association of Elementary School Principals (available on the Edutopia website), “A New Day for Learning,” is visionary in scope. [PDF takes a min. to open]

Clearly some mainstream education organizations are beginning to see the learning culture for what it is: a throwback to the Flintsone era. Nevertheless, the “New Day” report has no mention of play. (No surprise there; the ban of play throughout the education culture keeps minds focused on anything but the future.) Ironically, play may be the only form of behavior that, strategically harnessed and applied, is capable of breaking down the walls of a learning culture impervious to change. Play is pivotal to both of these reports. The AAP report, coming from the science-medical field, extols the importance of Play, while the NAESP overlooks it. Is there a lesson here?

This community is in a unique position to touch the future these papers point to as we bring play into the light of day, rather than put it on our bookshelves where all too much research ends up these days.
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