What if I told you I had the answer? What if I could promise you a research-defended, pediatrician-prescribed, biologically founded, ironclad way to ensure not only whole-child health but also this laundry list of benefits to your child? Your pride and joy. Bone of your bone, flesh of your flesh. What if one method could give your progeny
- Increased Bravery
- Cognitive Benefits: (diverse and plentiful but too long to include in a bullet list)
- Conceptual Knowledge through Exploration
- Problem-solving and Creativity
- Convergent and Divergent Problem Solving
- Voluntary participation in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math
- Language and Literacy
- Increased Executive Function
- Social and Emotional Benefits: (again, lengthy catalog)
- Skills for Navigating Interpersonal Interactions
- Social Understanding (aka. Not a robot!)
- Coping and Emotion Regulation (I know adults who need this…)
- Benefits to the Whole Child
- Physical Benefit: strength, dexterity, agility, flexibility, fine & gross motor development
- Cognitive/Academic Benefits: A lifelong love of learning
Brain research confirms it. Princeton, Harvard, Stanford, and Universities in nearly every state support, vehemently defend even, this approach.
Would you buy it? Would you subscribe to it?
What if I told it was free, nonproprietary, universal to any person interested?
Would you want to know why it is being withheld, knowingly, and intentionally from the children in our country?
Regardless of demographic or income level, stripped and removed from their grasps? Denied to our most vulnerable population…the very thing that would cause them to thrive…
The most grown up grown-ups seem to have forgotten-
Montessori, Piaget, Fred Rodgers for goodness sake- all speak to the important work of the child. It is not a break from work, as an adult might mistake. It is not a luxury item to be removed or used as a bribe, stripped from our schools and our early childhood centers… It is not an adult construct on a screen meant to replace childhood creativity and curiosity.
It is meant to be fantastical.
Meant to be exuberant.
Intentionally NOT adult in its striving to master the world of adults.
I was sitting in a meeting with a highly educated and generally, all around, great guy the other day discussing WyldFlower and it’s growth, needs, and exciting future. We bounced by the subject of “Play” for only a moment but the lingering effects of that tick-tock has resounded in my mental amphitheater for days now.
Play… a topic still met with a general lack of respect. The idea that it is a waste of time. A break from learning. Even well meaning, well educated, productive members of society still suffer with misunderstandings of its gravitas in the life of a child.
Scratch that, its significance in a human’s long life of learning!
When I want to learn something new, I still play first. So do you if you examine it.
Maybe it’s with fabric before I start a project. I just played at making fake fruits and vegetables for a dramatic play area I want to build at WyldFlower.
It might be new paint and brushes to use while I’m next to the river trying out the world of nature journaling, which I just started with my girls.
I literally started to play
It is the beginning of learning, even for me today. I could give you a hundred more examples from my own life, just this year.
WyldFlower started as play.
The bubbling thought that drifted by on a warm current of air…”What if it could be different?” It was a fluttering vision of beauty that darted away as on wings at first, “Where could I find it?”
“What if we tilled this soil, what if it was us that sowed into this garden?”
A passionate play session of ideas, words, thoughts, actions, tears, giggles,
heart breaking setbacks,
A two hands to the back- shove- out into the cold world of falling,
grit and jaw setting defiance, roaring in waves,
sunlight filtering through leaves over a dreamlike landscape.
Playing with friends, playing in the mud of ego and totalitarian regimes. Overly dramatic analogies…maybe I’m still playing.
Playing with rules and preconceived perceptions.
Play, as real and as a slobbery tennis ball falling from the mouth of a hairy, panting best friend.
Go back to the list at the top. It is robbed right off the pages of doctorate-level research summaries. It isn’t new. It isn’t fake. It isn’t to be taken lightly by the adults in the room that love kids and the adults they will become in the future.
Let’s create space and time for them to “play” and understand that it is sweat equity deposited directly into building a strong foundation for their own lives. The lives they construct with each and every babble, power struggle, toppling tower, and couch fort.
Every mud cake, flower soup, and fairy garden.
Let them be kids.
Let their learning grow deep and Wyld.
Let them PLAY.