If you Google, “Summer break with children,” you get two types of search results — a variety of activity lists or articles about the evils of summer’s off. Turns out they call it “summer fade,” which is a one month backslide in learning coupled with an increase in Body Mass Index (BMI) for kids.
Many parents counter these issues with a rigorous schedule of summer camps, sport practice and tutoring. While watching television all day with a box of pop tarts is obviously not good, there are some other options beyond a highly structured and scheduled summer.
When planning, or not planning your child’s summer, consider the scientifically proven benefits of boredom, free play and time in nature. These research studies about children and learning support the idea of a summer slowdown.
In a recent BBC news article, Children should be allowed to get bored, Dr Teresa Belton said, “Cultural expectations that children should be constantly active could hamper the development of their imagination.”
Now couple that reality with studies connecting time in nature with increased learning and emotional capabilities. The positive results of being outdoors for children are vast as seen in this PDF of a decade of Scientific Studies on this topic. Some highlights include:
- “When children engage in authentic play in nature-based outdoor spaces, they develop skills in a variety of domains simultaneously.” - Miller, D.L., Tichota, K,.White, J. (2009).
- “Sullivan has revealed that the symptoms of children with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) are relieved after contact with nature. The greener the setting, the more the relief.” – Taylor, A., Kuo, F. & Sullivan, W. (2001).
- “Children who regularly have positive personal experiences with the natural world show more advanced motor fitness, including coordination, balance and agility.” - Fjortoft, Ingunn (2001).
In addition to the learning benefits to boredom and time in nature, there is also the issue of free play. This article from Parenting Science explores over a decade of studies about the benefits of unstructured play time. The author is careful to note that free play does not mean physcial education classes or sports. Free play is just that. Unstructured play time, which is proven to help math skills, language development, and creative problem solving.
- “Play and exploration trigger the secretion of BDNF, a substance essential for the growth of brain cells.”
- “Psychologist Edward Fisher analyzed 46 published studies of the cognitive benefits of play (Fisher 1999). He found that “sociodramatic play”—what happens when kids pretend together—’results in improved performances in both cognitive-linguistic and social affective domains.’”
And finally, before you schedule a summer of busy stimulation, consider this article and advice from Simplicity Parenting writer Kim John Payne. He says:
“[When Google is hiring they say] ‘we’re less concerned about grades and transcripts and more interested in how you think.’”
If we rewind to a childhood that makes an adult like that, what do we see? Is it racing around from one prep course to another? From soccer to piano to Mandarin? A childhood on the clock and filling up the gaps with zoning on the iPad and obsessing about making more friends on Facebook?
I don’t think so.
When we really look at what happens for a kid when they slow down, tune in to themselves, take space and get busy in serious play, we can see that what they are learning is how to be create a kind of inner structure that will serve them (and us) well in the world ahead. … Play provides a deep and wide-reaching domain for kids to experiment with the real work of the real world.”
Students get to choose a choral piece to share with the community and this year Class 7 & 8 chose Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen.
To see more videos from our Spring Program, check out our SGWS YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/amyhecky
Spring is here! You are invited to join us on Wednesday, May 1st to celebrate May Day. Join us from 12:00 p.m.- 2 p.m.at the Sportsman’s Club (property adjacent to the school).
Watch this video to experience a taste of this upcoming festival.
Bring a picnic lunch and a blanket or chairs. Spend the afternoon with us welcoming spring as our younger children dance and weave maypole ribbons while our older children play music. The schedule for the day is as follows:
12:00: Picnic lunch. Bring a blanket and picnic for your family
12:45: May Day Opening. Community circle with verse
Students perform Maypole Dances
1:50: Closing verse and dismissal
We would love to see you there! Please register if you plan to join us.
As Waldorf parents, you know the value of screen-limited living. Now, help spread the word and encourage the people you know and love to take part in Screen Free Week this upcoming Monday, 4/29 through Sunday 5/5.
Screen Free Week is organized by The Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood.
And screen free week is not just for the kids. Stop checking that smart phone first thing in the morning and leave Facebook and Twitter alone in the evening and at lunchtime. You can do it. Turn Off media and turn On Life!
So proud of all our students who share their many talents at Assembly. Here’s a wonderful video of Eighth graders, Patrick and Jackson, performing Haydn at our March Spring Garden Assembly. Great performance gentlemen!