Creative vs. Programmed Play
In her recently published article, Problem Solving Deficit Disorder, Diane E. Levin, Ph.D. delves into the question “Why are children in our modern society so easily frustrated and bored?” As a parent of a college-bound child and a fourth grader, I have to admit I have asked myself that same question many times. Dr. Levin says her concept of Problem Solving Deficit Disorder (or PSDD as she calls it) grew out of her work on the impact of contemporary society on children. Parents and professionals have observed children who say they are bored a lot. They have trouble becoming deeply engaged in unstructured activities. One of the causes of PSDD is the growing emphasis on academic, skill-based curricula in early childhood settings that undermine children’s creative play and problem solving.
At Day Nursery we utilize The Creative Curriculum®. The philosophy behind this curriculum is that young children learn best by doing. In their early years, children explore the world around them by using all their senses. In using real materials such as blocks and trying out their ideas, children learn about sizes, shapes, and colors and they notice a relationship between things. In time, they learn to use one object to stand for another. For example, they might pretend a stick is an airplane. This type of play becomes the foundation for academic learning. We allow children to learn at their own pace and in the ways that are best for them.
The most important goal of Day Nursery’s early childhood curriculum is to help children become enthusiastic learners. Play is the work of young children. I hope you have a minute to click through and read Dr. Levin’s article. It was a strong reminder for me how important it is keep our family calendar flexible so my daughter has plenty of time for unstructured play.