hannah s. Michigan

A Changed Education

This letter addresses the need for a change in education, namely the implementation of unregulated play.

Dear President,

Confined to four dull painted walls with posters of bleak inspiration and triumph, children are expected to be accustomed to the education system that has remained unchanged for centuries. Their modern way of thinking is hindered by the ways of the past. The oldest education ideals no longer fit to the mold of each child. It is a memorization game that no one wins; the game repeats itself each year, cycling through the generations effortlessly. The world today is centered around communication, however, we are teaching children that to be successful you must think, speak, and act quietly; that raising your hand gives you permission to speak. How can it be expected that children will have the ability to interact with others as adults when they are taught that social interaction is correlated with bad behaviour? Children require unregulated play, time to be free from structure and expectations. This time has been increasingly cut short. Less play amounts to less interaction with others, inhibiting expansion of social skills and understanding of other’s wants and needs in relation to their own. Fred Rogers expounds upon the idea of play as a fundamental part of childhood, “play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children, play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.” In my childhood, most of my memories of school stem from being out in the world and experiencing classroom learnings come to life. . Children should know the purpose of their education rather than being fed information. Unorganized play offers children the opportunity to apply their learned skills to the outside world, while also adapting and learning new skills in the process. The education system is demanding that children sit still and keep to themselves, however, this is proving to be counterproductive, their bodies demand interaction, a break from structured learning. Why not change the education system so it is beneficial to students? The current system restricts children to a desk all day, resulting in bad behaviour; it is undesirable to nearly all children. Alternatively, recess is provided to many students, giving them an opportunity once a day to detach from the restraints of the classroom. Undoubtedly, children obtain physical, social emotional and intellectual development from unregulated play and interactions. Additionally, work that includes breaks deems more effective than working in long stretches. Undoubtedly, play allows young children to hone their attention spans and to learn to focus on specific tasks. When they are at play, children are strengthening their motors skills, visual tracking, and hand-eye coordination. Cooperative play with other children helps to develop creative thinking, problem solving, decision making, and communication skills such as listening, cooperating, and negotiating. The summation of the human experience is essentially our ability to think and act in a way which is desirable to not only ourselves, but those around us. Each child has a different perspective on aspects of their education. However, regardless of their opinion, it is known that in order to effectively learn and grow as a student, time away from structured learning is necessary. Each child has strengths and weaknesses, all are aided by the implementation of unregulated play. Do not ignore the problem facing the children of America, they are the future of our country, their education shouldn’t be compromised.

Clarkston Community Schools

Eisele IB ELA 12


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