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Opinion: How children’s ‘play’ is being sneakily redefined


1. Children should have plenty of opportunities to play. 2. Even young children have too few such opportunities these days, particularly in school settings. These two propositions—both of them indisputable and important—have been offered many times, says Alfie Kohn, author of 12 books about education and human behavior, for the Washington Post. The second one in particular reflects the “cult of rigor” at the center of corporate-style school reform. Its devastating impact can be mapped horizontally (with test preparation displacing more valuable activities at every age level) as well as vertically (with pressures being pushed down to the youngest grades, resulting in developmentally inappropriate instruction). The typical American kindergarten now resembles a really bad first-grade classroom.  Even preschool teachers are told to sacrifice opportunities for imaginative play in favor of drilling young children until they master a defined set of skills…

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