Raising Awareness on Play’s Importance
Two recent developments focused public attention on the importance of child-initiated play in children’s overall development and success in life, as well as the negative impact of play deprivation on our country’s prospects as a civil society practicing democracy.
The first of these was the American Academy of Pediatrics’ The Power of Play: A Pediatric Role in Enhancing Development in Young Children, http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2018/08/16/peds.2018-2058. This report set forward a comprehensive position for increasing the presence and quality of child-initiated play in young children’s lives, concluding that:
“Learning is better fueled by facilitating the child’s intrinsic motivations through play, rather than extrinsic motivations, such as test scores. . . . Play helps to build the skills required for our changing world. . . . Play provides a singular opportunity to build the executive functioning that underlies adaptive behaviors at home; improve language and math skills in school; build the safe, stable, and nurturing relationships that buffer against toxic stress, and build social-emotional resilience.”
The second development was an article in the New York Times on Sunday, September 2, 2018, How to Play Our Way to a Better Democracy, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/01/opinion/sunday/democracy-play-mccain.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage. The authors, Jonathan Haidt and Greg Lukianoff, said,
“If you want saner politics, we need to start on the playground. . . . Democracy is hard. It demands teamwork, compromise, respect for rules and a willingness to engage with other opinionated, vociferous individuals. It also demands practice. The best place to get that practice may be out on the playground.”
For years P.E.A.C.E. and the Peace Educators Interest Forum have been urging NAEYC to take the lead among national organizations to put play back into the educational curriculum for children 0-8. John Surr, on behalf of the Peace Educators Interest Forum, recently started a thread of discussion in NAEYC’s HELLO open forum, about “Play in the News: AAP’s Statement on Play:
NAEYC needs to jump back into this playground, and become a leader in bringing play back into early childhood care and education through age 8.
1. NAEYC worked for years on a Position Statement on Play, and it still languishes, unfinished. At a minimum, NAEYC needs to finish and publish the Statement, putting itself on the public record as being in favor of restoring child-initiated play as the best and primary way young children learn and become ready for Kindergarten and life.
2. In addition, NAEYC needs to give Power to the Profession by connecting with other organizations leading the charge, like the AAP and Defending the Early Years, (DEY, www.deyproject.org/).
3. Together, they need to go to State and Local School Boards and Superintendents, educating them about the importance of play in early education. NAEYC could use America for Early Ed to do that.
4. Finally, NAEYC needs to take a firm stance on early childhood assessment tools, so that they don’t punish normal developmental processes and impede play. This could cost the displeasure of some of NAEYC’s sponsors like Pearson, but it would save NAEYC’s soul and reinforce its mission.
You can join with us by sending your own messages about it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org , or to NAEYC, via the HELLO open forum, http://hello.naeyc.org/communities/community-home?CommunityKey=f51f9fd4-47c9-4bfd-aca7-23e9f31b601e, or by sharing your insights and experience with NAEYC CEO Rhian Evans Allvin, email@example.com, or President Amy O’Leary, firstname.lastname@example.org. P.E.A.C.E. and the Peace Educators Interest Forum may come together at the NAEYC Conference in November to address these concerns more specifically. Please join us!
Re-Unite Immigrant Families!
There still are almost 500 children, including many young children, who were torn away from their undocumented families and put in detention all over the U.S., with no push by the Government to get them back together again. The Government needs to compensate these families for the disruption it caused, including bringing the deported parents back to their children, paying for therapy for the families whose rights were violated, and accelerating the search for parents who haven’t yet been found. According to The Intercept, https://theintercept.com/2018/09/02/border-patrol-immigrant-detention-medical-neglect-texas/ several have died or nearly died from the lack of medical services in detention. Please click the following for an ACLU petition to end these conditions: https://action.aclu.org/petition/cbp-stop-abusing-children.
Please also urge your Representative to oppose an amendment, now pending to the HHS Appropriations Bill, that would put these children into indefinite detention, worsening the traumas already experienced, and ask them to block the Trump Administration’s attempt to undo the human rights protections for these children by rewriting the regulations.
Contact Congress to Raise Early Childhood Funding!
Please ask your Senators and Representative to fulfill the promise of the bipartisan budget deal to continue in the FY19 Appropriations for FY 2019 the agreed-upon amount of $2.9 billion for CCDBG funding and continue the increase in Head Start funding.
Register and VOTE for the November 6 elections!
Volunteer to help your favorite candidates. Please support candidates who will understand the importance of reducing military budgets and instead support children and families. PLEASE encourage everyone to vote.
Child care programs should do what they can to encourage registration and voting among both employees and parents.
PEACE/EPCC Seminar at NAEYC Conference, November 14-16
The seminar this year is a collaborative effort by two organizations that are part of the Peace Educator’s Interest Forum – PEACE (Peace Educators Allied for Children Everywhere) and EPCC (Educators for Peaceful Classrooms and Communities). The title is Building inclusion, respect, cooperation and compassion into your program: Is Civility more than good manners?
Other Recent News of Concern
*The US Public Interest Research Group Education Fund recently released a study showing trace asbestos in green Crayola crayons, as well as benzine, a carcinogen, in Amazon and Board Dudes dry-erase markers. See https://uspirg.org/reports/usp/safer-school-supplies-shopping-guide.
*The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence has launched a new campaign, End Family Fire, to keep improperly stored or misused guns out of homes with children. They report 8 deaths a day from these guns, and that 75% of school shootings come from these guns. See https://www.endfamilyfire.org/
*WorldBeyondWar.org reports that The US National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service is accepting comments until September 30, 2018, at email@example.com. You might want to comment about ending selective service for men, not starting it for women, allowing conscientious objectors to register as such, and if non-military service is an alternate, its pay and benefits should at least equal those of participating in the military.
Moving Forward: You’re Important to Us!
We look forward to seeing you at the NAEYC Conference in DC in mid-November. Please come to the joint annual meetings of P.E.A.C.E. and NAEYC’s Peace Education Interest Forum. Refreshments will be served.
We are eager for new members, and active members. Spread the word and let us know how you would like to be engaged at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our October News will be full of information about the November 14-17 NAEYC Annual Conference in Washington, DC. If you have a peace education related presentation for that Conference, we would like to include it next month in our conference information for members. Let us know the details. Our Interest forum can also, sponsor such proposals for future conferences. Keep in touch.
Join email@example.com to follow our members’ recommended actions, and share your own! You can request to sign-up by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or directly through Google Groups. We hope you will spread the word about the actions by forwarding them on to others.
Since we don’t charge dues we count on donations from those who are able to continue our work. Look for a PayPal donation option on our website, or mail your check made out to SEF/P.E.A.C.E. to: 55 Frost St. Cambridge MA 02140