Interesting article (includes children 4-6): Early Childhood Experts: Play Should Top Preschool Agenda - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 16 Old 02-08-2012, 01:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Early Childhood Experts: Play Should Top Preschool Agenda

 

Citing Gordon Neufeld, author of the 2006 book, Hold On To Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers:

 

"According to the news story, Neufeld says that children between the ages of 4 and 6 aren't ready to learn by working because their brains aren't quite ready for the task. The brain "only gets wired at between 5 and 7 years of age," Neufeld says in the news report.

 

Play, on the other hand, helps children build problem-solving networks, he says. But that's only if the play is expressive and doesn't have any consequences for making mistakes, or expected outcomes.

 

 

Here's the original article by Gordon Neufield:

 

All work and no play...

 

 

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#2 of 16 Old 02-08-2012, 08:23 PM
 
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Thanks. I just shared this around.


Created an instant family (7/89 and 5/91) in 1997. Made a baby boy 12/05 adopted a baby girl 8/08. Ask me about tandem adoptive nursing. Now living as gluten, dairy, cane sugar, and tomato free vegetarians. Homeschooling and loving it.

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#3 of 16 Old 02-09-2012, 06:23 AM
 
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I really liked this article. I like Hold On to Your Kids, a book by the same author, too.

I've been arguing against the tide that the push down curriculum of kindergarten is unnecessary and counter productive. It'll take years for the pendulum to swing back toward a play based curricululm.


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#4 of 16 Old 02-09-2012, 07:28 AM
 
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thanks for this article! I esp. like the part about how parents need to be the main influence and not peers--one of the top reasons DH and I feel so strongly about HSing.

 

I have 2 preschoolers and b/c I am quite a goal-oriented person, I really struggle with having a checklist of sorts of activities to do with them each week...b/c they love to be read to, craft, play games, etc... but also to give me some sense of structure being a SAHM. Often I feel myself chomping at the bit b/c I want to "do" more, but yet, I really don't want to push at all....want to keep things "playful" and not academic for them. Mine are 3 and 4. 

 

can someone remind me of how exactly things could be playful and still learning? for me right now, it feels like more arts and crafts, reading books, doing games with numbers and letters instead of workbooks, but am I missing the point? thanks...I just need some "application" ideas for this philosophy. My kids will play all day long; I just long for some productive things to do with them also, if that makes sense!

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#5 of 16 Old 02-09-2012, 08:13 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sassafrassmom View Post

 

can someone remind me of how exactly things could be playful and still learning? for me right now, it feels like more arts and crafts, reading books, doing games with numbers and letters instead of workbooks, but am I missing the point? thanks...I just need some "application" ideas for this philosophy. My kids will play all day long; I just long for some productive things to do with them also, if that makes sense!

At the age of 3 and 4 what is productive for them to learn is not necessarily what we think they "should" learn.  Playing all day, they are learning to organize their own day to a large degree, deal with boredom, invent new games, create imaginary worlds to play together in (this should be really getting into full swing starting at 3 and 4), solving problems as they attempt to work their game together, control of their bodies as they leap from the couch to the chair and hold crayons.  Free time to peer at a book without an adult telling him what to look at or when to turn the page or put it down or read in the proper page order.  

 

The trouble is that parents like to hear facts and skills relayed back to them so that they feel comforted "knowing" that their child is picking up skills they find important.  The problem is, I don't think these are skills that are paramount to very young children.  My oldest, now 7, has always loved memorizing facts (sharks and whales at 4yo, horses now), so it's not like you can avoid it, it's just that it shouldn't be pushed IMO or given more approval by parents than the other skills I mentioned above.  

 

The analogy that often gets made is to that of a plant.  A young plant grows a bit up above the ground, but down below the roots are growing like gangbusters.  Only when the roots have reached a certain mass does the plant's aerial parts take off.  

 

While certain kids might show a willingness and aptitude for academics, it is not of prime importance, especially at 3 and 4.  Play really is the thing. (And, yes--play all day if they can do it!)  A little Chicka Chicka Boom Boom wouldn't hurt.  But storytime should be just that--storytime.


 

 

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Lovely article, it details some of the main reason I've been so attracted to Waldorf education and the better late than early approach.

 

Sassafrassmom: We've really liked Little Acorn Learning for our preschoolers. I've heard good things about Seasons of Joy too. Keep in mind though both of those are Waldorf influenced.


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#7 of 16 Old 02-09-2012, 08:21 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sassafrassmom View Post

I have 2 preschoolers and b/c I am quite a goal-oriented person, I really struggle with having a checklist of sorts of activities to do with them each week..



So put on your checklist "free play 10 am to 12 noon. noon lunch. 1 nap (if still napping.) 3:30 to 4:30 free play." You get to mark off your scheduled activities and they get what they need. You can still schedule in activities that they like, but you'll be making sure they get their free play.

 

I highly recommend this book: Legendary Learning http://www.amazon.com/Legendary-Learning-Homeschoolers-Self-Directed-Excellence/dp/0983151008/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1328847494&sr=1-1

 

Here's about that book: This is probably the best parenting book I have ever read. How you can offer your kids the skills they need to follow their passions and succeed (as they define it) in the world. Although it is geared to homeschoolers, most of this can be applied to children who attend school. She discusses Montessori, Charlotte Mason, A Thomas Jefferson Education (a form of classical education,) and unschooling. She has researched how many highly successful people were educated as they grew up. Although all were homeschooled for some period of time, many also went to school for awhile as well. She discusses people like Thomas Edison, Teddy Roosevelt, Pierre Curie, Agatha Christie, Margaret Leakey, and many, many others. The bottom line is to help your child find their passions and teach them the creativity and skills to attain their goals.

 

In that book she says all kids need 4 to 6 hours of outdoor play each day and that mom needs to read a book during that time. Maybe with a 3 year old you need to watch a bit more closely, but the idea is still there. 


Created an instant family (7/89 and 5/91) in 1997. Made a baby boy 12/05 adopted a baby girl 8/08. Ask me about tandem adoptive nursing. Now living as gluten, dairy, cane sugar, and tomato free vegetarians. Homeschooling and loving it.

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#8 of 16 Old 02-09-2012, 10:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:

can someone remind me of how exactly things could be playful and still learning? for me right now, it feels like more arts and crafts, reading books, doing games with numbers and letters instead of workbooks, but am I missing the point? thanks...I just need some "application" ideas for this philosophy. My kids will play all day long; I just long for some productive things to do with them also, if that makes sense!


The idea is that their play in itself is the most productive thing of all right now. Their play is rich in learning and imagining that is the foundation for all future learning - even though it's not learning about numbers or letters or school things. They have years and years ahead of them later for all the rest.  wink1.gif   Lillian

 

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#9 of 16 Old 02-10-2012, 07:43 AM
 
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The idea is that their play in itself is the most productive thing of all right now. Their play is rich in learning and imagining that is the foundation for all future learning - even though it's not learning about numbers or letters or school things. They have years and years ahead of them later for all the rest.  wink1.gif   Lillian

 



does the parent need to be involved in the play? ( I know some at least is important :) but when my kids are playing together for hours on end (though I'm delighted to see it) I often feel like a bad mother b/c I'm doing other things like cleaning, internet, with the baby....etc... and not engaging with them. any thoughts on this?? I do have regular "connecting times" each day with them....reading, crafting, nap, meals...but there are A LOT of hours in our day!!

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Originally Posted by SundayCrepes View Post



So put on your checklist "free play 10 am to 12 noon. noon lunch. 1 nap (if still napping.) 3:30 to 4:30 free play." You get to mark off your scheduled activities and they get what they need. You can still schedule in activities that they like, but you'll be making sure they get their free play.

 

I highly recommend this book: Legendary Learning http://www.amazon.com/Legendary-Learning-Homeschoolers-Self-Directed-Excellence/dp/0983151008/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1328847494&sr=1-1

 

Here's about that book: This is probably the best parenting book I have ever read. How you can offer your kids the skills they need to follow their passions and succeed (as they define it) in the world. Although it is geared to homeschoolers, most of this can be applied to children who attend school. She discusses Montessori, Charlotte Mason, A Thomas Jefferson Education (a form of classical education,) and unschooling. She has researched how many highly successful people were educated as they grew up. Although all were homeschooled for some period of time, many also went to school for awhile as well. She discusses people like Thomas Edison, Teddy Roosevelt, Pierre Curie, Agatha Christie, Margaret Leakey, and many, many others. The bottom line is to help your child find their passions and teach them the creativity and skills to attain their goals.

 

In that book she says all kids need 4 to 6 hours of outdoor play each day and that mom needs to read a book during that time. Maybe with a 3 year old you need to watch a bit more closely, but the idea is still there. 


thanks for the rec! will check it out

 

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#11 of 16 Old 02-10-2012, 07:51 AM
 
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does the parent need to be involved in the play? ( I know some at least is important :) but when my kids are playing together for hours on end (though I'm delighted to see it) I often feel like a bad mother b/c I'm doing other things like cleaning, internet, with the baby....etc... and not engaging with them. any thoughts on this?? I do have regular "connecting times" each day with them....reading, crafting, nap, meals...but there are A LOT of hours in our day!!


I feel the same way.  I ask my girls sometimes and they say "no" they are so busy.  Sometimes they ask to play a board game together or read books together, but mostly they just ask for help to set up a game and that's that.  They do like me nearby when I don't have chores I'll sit and knit or read (hopefully not get on the computer) and I'll just be nearby.  And if I want to be outside to garden or take care of the chickens, one or both usually want to come with me..... and play their own game outside.  Rarely do they want me to play with them, just be close.

 


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#12 of 16 Old 02-10-2012, 11:07 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sassafrassmom View Post



does the parent need to be involved in the play? ( I know some at least is important :) but when my kids are playing together for hours on end (though I'm delighted to see it) I often feel like a bad mother b/c I'm doing other things like cleaning, internet, with the baby....etc... and not engaging with them. any thoughts on this?? I do have regular "connecting times" each day with them....reading, crafting, nap, meals...but there are A LOT of hours in our day!!


No, the parent doesn't need to be involved in the play, but they can and will be a part of it at times, and a parent might pop in unobtrusively from time to time to offer fun imaginative ideas and materials. I think it's important to think in terms of being available, though, rather than getting so distracted as to forget priorities - and to be conscious of providing an environment that supports lots of imaginative and physically satisfying experiences. That can mean good balls, cloth for making playhouses/forts, little play figures for acting out stories, sandboxes or sand trays, things for water play, different kinds of blocks, puzzles, ride-on toys, boxes... There are lots of ideas in these articles I've linked to about those years. And let me add that those years fly by. You will never have reason to regret not teaching them letters or numbers during those years, but you can easily regret the times you didn't stop to fully answer questions or just hang out and play with them. These are often the things parents think of when their children grow up and leave home - all those little things they wish they could go back in time to do with them - I have a friend going through that right now. As I told her, it doesn't matter how much you've done with them - there are always going to be regrets, because you miss them so much - but it helps when you know you did a lot and built a lot of wonderful memories with them. But you're setting regular times aside for certain things, and that's really valuable!  Lillian

 

 

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#13 of 16 Old 02-10-2012, 01:10 PM
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Originally Posted by sassafrassmom View Post



does the parent need to be involved in the play? ( I know some at least is important :) but when my kids are playing together for hours on end (though I'm delighted to see it) I often feel like a bad mother b/c I'm doing other things like cleaning, internet, with the baby....etc... and not engaging with them. any thoughts on this?? I do have regular "connecting times" each day with them....reading, crafting, nap, meals...but there are A LOT of hours in our day!!


I figure that part of my job is to take care of the background stuff, i.e. dishes/laundry/etc, so that they have the freedom to play in a clean, uncluttered space, and then I also have my own structure to my day. They do help me with my stuff and I encourage that, but I don't make it a point to play with them unless it is requested. Generally when they need me they don't hesitate to make that known! We do read together a lot throughout the day, but it's not structured. My kids are 4 and 2.

 


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I think it's important to think in terms of being available, though, rather than getting so distracted as to forget priorities - and to be conscious of providing an environment that supports lots of imaginative and physically satisfying experiences.  

 

 

This.  I make a point not to do anything when I'm home alone with them that can't be easily set aside.  Of course, at my girls' age they can wait a few minutes, but I don't do things like troubleshooting the computer or long phone calls or taxes or anything that can't be easily interrupted.  Those I save for when dh is home and can be "on duty" when I need to do those things.  And I will do the same for him.

 

Edited to add:  and of course whatever I do at these times is something they can join me in, as much as possible anyhow.
 

 


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#15 of 16 Old 02-11-2012, 08:54 AM
 
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Hold On To Your Kids is probably the best parenting book I've ever read, and I've read a LOT. I always recommend it whenever anyone asks for suggestions for reading. 

As for feeling guilty when you're not playing with your kids, don't.  I've seen the difference it makes when you let kids play on their own. With my first I constantly entertained him-- reading to him, playing with him, cooking with him, etc., but I let my second son and my daughter play on their own a lot more, and I can see the skills they've developed as a result. With my first I mistakenly assumed that making him play on his own was not consistent with attachment parenting.  Now I firmly believe that it is critical  to back off and let them play by themselves for a portion of each day, while still making time for regular reading, snuggling, talking, and yes, sometimes playing.

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  Generally when they need me they don't hesitate to make that known!  



LOL...same here. I can't really get away with much "alone time" honestly :)

I like the word "available." I think that sums up the idea really well....even if I'm busy doing something, I can always put it aside.  I too don't try and do anything really time intensive during the day. I also requested the Hold onto your kids book from my library--looking forward to reading it. 

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