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Darell Hammond quotes
Just as playgrounds didn't even make the priority list of most of those responding to Katrina, they all too often slip off the radar of those building our schools, designing our neighborhoods, and drafting government budgets.
Our education system is increasingly embracing a black-and-white way of thinking, in which 'learning' and 'play' are diametrically opposed. 'Learning' is the serious stuff that happens inside a classroom and can be measured via multiple choice questions and a No. 2 pencil. 'Play' is frivolous, fun, and worst of all, optional.
Play is the best natural resource in a creative economy. Kids need more of it. It is the work of childhood. We hope to intrinsically change the opinion that play is not just a luxury but an absolute necessity for kids' lives.
In an era of parental paranoia, lawsuit mania and testing frenzy, we are failing to inspire our children's curiosity, creativity, and imagination. We are denying them opportunities to tinker, discover, and explore - in short, to play.
We are raising today's children in sterile, risk-averse and highly structured environments. In so doing, we are failing to cultivate artists, pioneers and entrepreneurs, and instead cultivating a generation of children who can follow the rules in organized sports games, sit for hours in front of screens and mark bubbles on standardized tests.
Aaah, summer - that long anticipated stretch of lazy, lingering days, free of responsibility and rife with possibility. It's a time to hunt for insects, master handstands, practice swimming strokes, conquer trees, explore nooks and crannies, and make new friends.
As parents, we need to send our kids back to 'old-fashioned' outdoor summer camps, which have been on the decline as the demand for sports and academics-based camps has risen. We need to fight budget cuts to public parks programs and resist closures of public swimming pools and playgrounds.
By providing our young children with opportunities for free, child-directed play, along with proper nutrition, we are setting them up for a lifetime of healthy habits, versus interventions needed later in life.