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NCLB Outrages

Dear Members of the Board of Education. . .

This letter about the importance of play was sent to the Greeley, Colorado Board of Education. It is a good model for concerned citizens to follow with their own boards.

Dear Members of the Board of Education,

The following statement from "The Power of Play" on Rocky Mountain PBS (aired this morning) speaks for itself:

"It is no coincidence that the two most intelligent species, humans and chimpanzees,
are also the most playful"

Also mentioned was that "Play wires the brain", in other words, it builds new neurons and synapses which in turn helps increase cognition. Research by Eric Jensen (Enriching the Brain) supports this as well.

In my search for the program on DVD, I found an article by the same name in Psychology Today.

Below, an insightful excerpt. (Emphasis in bold is mine.)

Conny Jensen
Brian Sutton-Smith, Ph.D. Professor emeritus of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania says:

"The connections in the brain fade away unless used. We know that early stimulation of children leads to higher cognitive scores. Playful stimulation probably hits all kinds of synaptic possibilities. It is all make-believe and all over the map. The potentiality of the synapses and the potentiality of playfulness are a beautiful marriage."

When adults play, notes Sutton-Smith, citing a series of Dutch studies of video-game playing, their memory is better. They are cognitively more capable. And they are happier.

The same is true for kids. In one study, Austrian children were offered a cache of toys—once they got their work done. As a result, the children were more eager to go to school. The teachers liked being in the classrooms teaching and being with the kids more, and the parents liked the school more.

And pointing to a homegrown study at Temple University, children arriving in grade one with a reading background were compared with kids having a more old-fashioned play background. The children who got the reading instruction performed better during the first grade but not by the end of the year. And, Sutton-Smith reports, "they were much more depressed. The opposite of play is not work. It's depression."

From: http://psychologytoday.com/articles/index.php?term=pto-19990701-000030&page=1

— Conny Jensen


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