Work Play Balance

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Montessori Teacher Training

Work/Play Balance – a Montessori Perspective

I recently read an alarming article from Michael Conlon of Reuters, entitled, U.S. school children need less work, more play: study. Conlon contends that there is a growing trend in U.S. public schools of reducing free time "because many school districts responded to the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 by reducing time committed to recess, the creative arts, and even physical education in an effort to focus on reading and mathematics". In addition, there seems to be "fear of lawsuits if children become injured, a concern over children's safety from strangers around school grounds, and a shortage of people to supervise the children during recess" (Johnson, Dirk. 1998, April 7. Many schools putting an end to child's play. New York Times, p. A1, A16.) Some school districts are even going so far as to build new facilities that do not have playgrounds. As Montessorians shake their heads at this sad trend, studies are now showing that there are extreme ramifications. Just as adults need to take periodic breaks away from their work in order to re-focus, so do children. Is there any wonder, then, as to the rise in behavior and attention problems in the classroom? Taking away the physical outlet and activity also contributes to the rising obesity problem facing young children. It made me glad, once again, that we are followers of Dr. Montessori. We know the importance of being outside, communing with nature. Montessori knew that children were fascinated by nature and encourages us to take the children out to experience it as often as possible so that they might enjoy and delight in the world around them. Montessori also believed that children are inherently good and that “bad” or misbehavior comes from a poorly prepared environment that is not meeting the needs of that child. They are merely his reactions to an environment that has become inadequate...But we do not notice that. And since...
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