Kids were not designed to obediently sit at desks and learn a bunch of boring stuff by rote. They’re energetic bundles of curiosity and creativity looking for an opportunity to discover and learn. With proper supervision and guidance kids can do amazing things and work out their exuberance and settle their differences – learning valuable life skills in the process.
That’s exactly what Tashawnee Guarriello sees every day at P.S. 309 in Brooklyn NY. Guarriello or “coach G” as she’s called, is part of the Playworks program founded in California in 1996.
The idea is to encourage mildly structured school play as part and parcel of the participating school’s curriculum. It has the multiple benefits of positive social interaction and dispute resolution, creative and interactive play and simply burning off the excess energy that comes with being a kid. Schools that are involved with the program are reporting less bullying, kids feel safer in school and the transition from playtime to classroom learning is smoother.
So far, this type of practical program seems to be the exception rather than the rule. Let’s hope that educators can change the ‘rule’ sooner rather than later.