Restoring Childhood Play
Alliance Kindergarten Report
Time for play in most kindergartens has dwindled to the vanishing point, replaced by lengthy lessons and standardized testing, according to results of three new studies commissioned by the Alliance for Childhood. Children in all-day kindergartens were found to spend four to six times as much time being instructed, tested, or prepared for tests (about two to three hours per day) as in free play or “choice time” (30 minutes or less). Classic play materials like blocks, sand and water tables, and props for dramatic play have largely disappeared. The findings are documented in Crisis in the Kindergarten, which says these practices, “which are not well grounded in research, violate long-established principles of child development and good teaching.” The Alliance calls for the restoration of “child-initiated play and experiential learning with the active support of teachers to their rightful place at the heart of kindergarten education.”
An 8-page summary of the report, including recommendations for action, is also available.
NEW: Fact sheet on kindergarten testing, with advice especially for parents.
Details of the three kindergarten studies, conducted by researchers from U.C.L.A., Long Island University, and the Sarah Lawrence College Child Development Institute, are given in the accompanying Research Summary and in the CDI Final Report.
The Alliance for Childhood warns that states considering adopting the new academic core standards could set in motion a spate of inappropriate and harmful testing of young children.
For background information on the Core Standards and the Alliance's position click here.
In April and May 2009 the Alliance hosted London playworker Penny Wilson in a series of conferences on inclusive play and play in nature in Ohio, Chicago, and the San Francisco Bay Area. The Playwork Primer by Penny was distributed at the events. Details about the events can be found in our Restoring Play Archive. See a video introduction on playwork featuring Penny Wilson.
We are grateful to Carol Torgan for her excellent resource list.
Fact Sheets and Guides
Kindergarten Testing, with advice especially for parents.
"Play in the Early Years": a guide for parents and educators
Play in the News
Recent articles on the importance of play:
Is Children's Play Innate?
Helping Your Kids Avoid Stress
Playing to Learn
Click here for more...
Overview of Play Outreach
When the Alliance began its Restoring Childhood Play project we were repeatedly told that “play” had become a “four-letter word.” Rather than abandoning the word, we decided it was time to redeem it, and many others seem to have come to the same conclusion. A growing number of books, conferences, articles, and reports attest to the vital role of play in children’s lives. The Alliance is pursuing a multi-pronged approach to restoring play:.