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Taking Play Seriously
NY Times ^ | February 17, 2008 | ROBIN MARANTZ HENIG

Posted on 02/17/2008 5:52:09 PM PST by neverdem

On a drizzly Tuesday night in late January, 200 people came out to hear a psychiatrist talk rhapsodically about play — not just the intense, joyous play of children, but play for all people, at all ages, at all times. (All species too; the lecture featured touching photos of a polar bear and a husky engaging playfully at a snowy outpost in northern Canada.) Stuart Brown, president of the National Institute for Play, was speaking at the New York Public Library’s main branch on 42nd Street. He created the institute in 1996, after more than 20 years of psychiatric practice and research persuaded him of the dangerous long-term consequences of play deprivation. In a sold-out talk at the library, he and Krista Tippett, host of the public-radio program ‘‘Speaking of Faith,’’ discussed the biological and spiritual underpinnings of play. Brown called play part of the ‘‘developmental sequencing of becoming a human primate. If you look at what produces learning and memory and well-being, play is as fundamental as any other aspect of life, including sleep and dreams.’’

The message seemed to resonate with audience members, who asked anxious questions about what seemed to be the loss of play in their children’s lives. Their concern came, no doubt, from the recent deluge of eulogies to play . Educators fret that school officials are hacking away at recess to make room for an increasingly crammed curriculum. Psychologists complain that overscheduled kids have no time left for the real business of childhood: idle, creative, unstructured free play. Public health officials link insufficient playtime to a rise in childhood obesity. Parents bemoan the fact that kids don’t play the way they themselves did — or think they did. And everyone seems to worry that without the chance to play stickball or hopscotch out on...

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: behavior; childhood; development; neurology; play; psychiatrist; psychology; shrink

1 posted on 02/17/2008 5:52:11 PM PST by neverdem
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To: neverdem

We need a “National Institute for Play”?

Stuart Brown MD is the founder of the National Institute for Play, where he speaks, consults and educates organizations, corporations, universities, and public policy makers about the importance of play in our lives and the unexpected, serious consequences that occur when play is neglected. His background in psychiatry, the evolution of human and animal play, as well as his clinical research into the causes and prevention of violence, have shown him that authentic play is a state of being which can be accessed and used by everyone, and that play is as important to humans as vitamins or sleep.

The Institute for Play Board of Directors: (includes)

Joan Abrahamson JD, PhD is president and executive director of the Jonas Salk Foundation. She is also founder and president of the Jefferson Institute, a nonprofit institution that identifies solutions to public policy problems. A former assistant chief of staff to Vice President George H. W. Bush,

2 posted on 02/17/2008 6:00:15 PM PST by kcvl
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To: neverdem
If you look at what produces learning and memory and well-being, play is as fundamental as any other aspect of life, including sleep and dreams.’’

My homeschooled children rarely had more than 2 hours of formal study each day. The remainder of the day was spent in loosely supervised, unstructured play. It was an amazing process to watch, but gradually their intense play became their high focused and intense adult work.

The most important work that my homeschoolers did as kids was play.

We did not have a TV or video games.

I am convinced that the reason we have so much ADHD today is that children have so little opportunity learn how to concentrate quietly for long periods of time. Their lives are continually being interrupted by the bells and schedules of adults. The demands of institutionalized schooling and day care means that every 30 minutes he is interrupted. How can a child learn to concentrated if he is never given the opportunity to practice?

3 posted on 02/17/2008 7:16:42 PM PST by wintertime (Good ideas win! Why? Because people are not stupid.)
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To: El Gato; Ernest_at_the_Beach; Robert A. Cook, PE; lepton; LadyDoc; jb6; tiamat; PGalt; Dianna; ...
Why so many Americans today are 'mentally ill'

Antidepressants and Violence: Problems at the Interface of Medicine and Law

The Serotonin Syndrome pdf link

Heads UP: Rare visable double spaceship flybys, Atlantis/Space Station on Monday evening

FReepmail me if you want on or off my health and science ping list.

4 posted on 02/17/2008 11:47:30 PM PST by neverdem (I have to hope for a brokered GOP Convention. It can't get any worse.)
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To: wintertime

You are so right! I was watching my 1 year old grandson the other day. He pulled out all my coasters and spare placemats. He then spent about 45 mins “pushing” one of the placemats (rigid plastic) all over the house. He even pushed it into my bedroom where he spent a good 15 mins pushing it under my bed. Then he’d laugh and pull it back out, do it over. I grew up on a farm, and spent uncounted hours doing nothing—nothing that made any sense to the adults—but nothings that taught me a great deal. Kids need taht so much.

5 posted on 02/18/2008 6:00:36 AM PST by gardengirl
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