News From the Executive Office

Can’t play hard enough on this theme!

Once again, directly from my favorite daily e-newsletter, ExchangeEveryday, here is a reminder of how important play is to young children.

“It is before the age of 7 years — ages traditionally known as “pre-academic” — when children desperately need to have a multitude of whole-body sensory experiences on a daily basis in order to develop strong bodies and minds. This is best done outside where the senses are fully ignited and young bodies are challenged by the uneven and unpredictable, ever-changing terrain.” This strong statement comes from Angela Hanscom in her Washington Post article, “The decline of play in preschoolers — and the rise in sensory issues.”

“Preschool years are not only optimal for children to learn through play, but also a critical developmental period. If children are not given enough natural movement and play experiences, they start their academic careers with a disadvantage. They are more likely to be clumsy, have difficulty paying attention, trouble controlling their emotions, utilize poor problem-solving methods, and demonstrate difficulties with social interactions. We are consistently seeing sensory, motor, and cognitive issues pop up more and more in later childhood, partly because of inadequate opportunities to move and play at an early age.”

Contributed by Kirsten Haugen