I just read an excellent article by Victoria Prooday titled The silent tragedy affecting today’s children. Read it here.
As a person who has been working with preschoolers over 20 years, one thing that really stuck out for me in this article was the statement, provide opportunities for boredom as boredom is the time when creativity awakens! Love it!!!
I have realized how things have changed! And not for the better. When I first started teaching, I could put out a bunch of materials ( i.e. glue, paper , scissors, glitter……) and the kids would come running anxious to experiment and start creating!. Fast forward to the present and they are not so excited and will sometimes look and say, “what do we do with this?” They are losing the ability to be patient, think, and figure out what they can do! To imagine and create! They are getting used to constantly being entertained and told what to do. Tablets and cell phones are being used for entertainment. There are too many outside influences and their imaginations are not as strong. Now this is a scary thing!
Learning How to Think for Themselves
How do I remedy this situation? Well, I always provided time in my classroom for free play. That means to go ahead and find something YOU want to do with little interference from the teachers. I felt my role during that time was to be an observer and provide guidance when needed. It was also during this free time I found children loved to come over and chat a bit and share a feeling or story from home. So many important skills were being used such as problem solving, socializing, creating…. all important life skills! I also liked to just stop once and a while and say, “hey guys, shhhhhhhhh! What do you hear?” They would give answers and be curious about some of the sounds. This lead to some spontaneous learning. If they heard a bird, then it would lead to wanting to learn more about that bird and nature!
The bottom line is this, if children are not allowed the time to just be and think for themselves then how do they grow to be self-sufficient and responsibly-thinking adults some day? What kinds of things do you do to give your children down time?