January Behavior Blog---PLAY!

January Behavior Blog---PLAY!
Posted on 01/25/2017
January 2017 Behavior Blog 


Ha I wish I could say that I thoroughly read every email sent to me but that is not the case. :( Thank goodness my dear colleague made me take a double take at the Website of Week email sent by our very own Monique! Several weeks ago she shared a You Tube video about the Global School Play Day and a scientist’s research on the effects of play on today’s children https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bg-GEzM7iTk&authuser=0 
Thanks again to Mrs. Fox, I watched this video in absolute awe of the absolute proof of how our brains and bodies NEED to play and how play has changed recently, causing actual physiological changes to humans. 

Now, how does this relate to behavior? WATCH THE VIDEO! Watch your students play or at least attempt to. I observed recess today and can easily notice differences in what I observed from even 10 years ago. Many students played-- tag and climbing and such but several groups stood around in clumps. The most significant difference I observed was the number of staff on the playground. There were at least 5 there and their proximity was known to most kiddos. Yes, this appears to increase safety and such but is it really necessary??? In the play video, he points out that we, adults, are stifling children’s ability to independently problem-solve. I agree with this and think the extra supervision may be doing exactly that. We are quicker to intervene peer conflicts and attempt to verbally process (over-process) with the children. We instantly provide one-on-one attention when problem behavior occurs. We say we are allowing feelings but often create discipline continuums when students attempt to express their feelings. We add adult supervision instead of teaching missing social and problem-solving skills that often can be learned with peers only, not adults! We immediately jump to identifying a mental health issue and need for medications. Why can we not look at the lack of problem-solving and social skills as the main cause for problem behavior? 

Recess is one of the best ways to allow children to play but how can we bring play to our classrooms? Is technology usage actual play that is going to help us develop creative, problem-solving adult members of our community? 

I truly believe that we, educators, are responsible for putting a stop to the changes occurring in children today. We cannot control what they do at home but we can at school. We can ensure that they have time to PLAY, to be creative, to problem-solve with their peers, to laugh, to move, to sing, to dance, to experience joy! We can remove their access to technology for periods of time and/or teach them appropriate uses for technology. We can ensure that they get outdoors, get exercise, and get fed. We have more power than many of us believe. The power of play is vital to their future success and to our own future as educators. Please play! Sign up today for next week’s Global Day of Play! No tv, technology, academics for one single day. Just play! http://www.globalschoolplayday.com/