All young mammals spend most of their time playing. Evolutionary psychologist Peter Gray believes that this supports the clearly supports the venerable idea that play provides very important preparation for adult life. But what about young humans? With the most to learn, we would seem to need the most play. But ,odern schooling and increasingly structured ‘free’-time seem to be depriving children of the opportunity to simply play around.
In an excellent article in Aeon magazine (and in his new book Free to Learn), Gray argues forcefully that this is very damaging trend and should be reversed. To learn more children should have more playtime and less lessons.
In recent decades we as a society have been conducting a play-deprivation experiment with our children. Today’s children… are much more deprived than children were 60 years ago and much, much more than children were in hunter-gatherer societies. The results, I think, are in. Play deprivation is bad for children. Among other things, it promotes anxiety, depression, suicide, narcissism, and loss of creativity. It’s time to end the experiment.
- How our education system hinders children’s ability to learn (voxxi.com)
- The play deficit (aeonmagazine.com)
- School is a prison – and damaging our kids (philosophers-stone.co.uk)