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The Benefits of "Play-In-The-Mud" Educational Philosophy
There's a problem with how we live our lives now; disconnected from nature and disconnected from each other. Staring into a screen, chatting to people instead of looking them in the eye, and forcing kids into a classroom for 8 hours a day and expecting them to be well balanced. People are not well adjusted, and it's getting worse. I wrote a recent article this new technology-focused, socially disconnected way of life as being the real culprit behind the increase in mass violence (see article).
That's why I love attempts by common sense teachers to try to reintroduce nature back into the equation. A recent article in The Atlantic explores this issue...
"Louv and fellow advocates present outdoor early education as an answer to a gamut of child-rearing challenges. According to these advocates, a kid who suffers from anxiety doesn’t necessarily need medication, a child who can’t pay attention doesn’t need a computer program to reshape her development, and one who struggles to keep up physically doesn’t need a targeted summer-camp experience to build his muscles. Instead, what they need is more time outdoors. Give young kids the opportunities to engage in hours of free, unstructured play in the natural world, and they develop just as organically as any other creature. They learn creativity as they explore and engage with complex ecological systems—and imagine new worlds of their own. Freed from playground guardrails that constrain (even as they protect), kids build strength, develop self-confidence, and learn to manage risks as they trip, stumble, fall, hurt, and right themselves. Research shows that the freedom of unstructured time in open space helps kids learn to focus. It also just feels good: Nature reduces stress."
The challenge is that the more our education system is dictated from the top down by administrators in Washington, the more structured and regimented school becomes. There is less (hardly any) room for unstructured time because it doesn't offer results that can be observed on a standardized test.
Read more here, and then comment below on your thoughts. Thank you!