Play is the Highest Form of Research: Don't Cut Creative Play for Students

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Sponsor: Creative Kidstuff

Tell the Department of Education to make play a priority in the curriculum!


"Play is behavior that looks as if it has no purpose," says NIH psychologist Dr. Stephen Suomi. "It looks like fun, but it actually prepares for a complex social world."

Numerous studies have evidence suggesting play has considerable benefits for kids including boosting brain function, increasing fitness, improving coordination, and teaching cooperation.

As pressure mounts for schools to pass ever-changing tests that only measure the academic aptitude of their students, anything that does not directly correlate with the test's metrics are being abandoned.

Often, creative peripherals like music and art classes are the first to get cut. Formal physical education classes follow. Even recess, that hallmark of childhood for so many of us, is on the chopping block in the short-sighted, panic-driven need to "teach the test."

Cutting these creative outlets aren't doing kids any favors in the long term. The US Play Coalition reports in "A Research-Based Case for Recess" that "minimizing or eliminating recess can negatively affect academic achievement, as growing evidence links recess to improved physical health, social skills, and cognitive development." The American Academy of Pediatrics states that it "believes recess is a crucial and necessary component of a child's development and, as such, it should not be withheld for punitive or academic reasons."

It's time the Department of Education took a stand for our kids. Tell Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to make creative play a priority in the curriculum of all American public schools. Our kids deserve it!

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The Petition:

Dear Secretary of Education Arne Duncan,

I am alarmed at the growing push to cut creative play from the curriculum of American public schools.

In the rush to ensure compliance with new and ever-changing testing standards for our students, short-sighted administrators are cutting where they can in an effort to squeeze in more time to "teach the test."

Unfortunately, the first things to go are often creative peripherals like music and art classes. Formal physical education classes follow. Even recess, that hallmark of childhood for so many of us is on the chopping block.

This does a deep disservice to today's students. Countless studies from reputable organizations like the NIH, US Play Coalition, The American Academy of Pediatrics, and Psychology Today all support the idea that children learn best when they have the opportunity to engage their creativity and learn through play.

The US Play Coalition found in a study entitled "A Research-Based Case for Recess" that "minimizing or eliminating recess can negatively affect academic achievement, as growing evidence links recess to improved physical health, social skills, and cognitive development." The American Academy of Pediatrics stated that it "believes recess is a crucial and necessary component of a child's development and, as such, it should not be withheld for punitive or academic reasons."

Albert Einstein once said, "Play is the highest form of research." We agree wholeheartedly with his assessment.

Please, be an advocate for today's students and make sure that creative play is a priority in the curriculum requirements for all American public schools.

Sincerely,

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