Monday, January 17, 2011

Edmisten, Inc. Is a Nonprofit Pro-play Group (or, "I Didn't Know I Was Part of a Movement")

I know that we homeschoolers can seem a bit on the fringe of "normal."  I know we can be weirdly different or differently weird.

On the other hand, sometimes we're cutting edge. Consider this article: Effort to Restore Children's Play Gains Momentum.

I wasn't sure: was I reading an actual news piece? Or something from The Onion? Some excerpts from the article:

"Ms. Wilson has embraced a growing movement to restore the sometimes-untidy business of play to the lives of children."

"But advocates are now starting to reach out to parents, recognizing that for the movement to succeed, parental attitudes must evolve as well — starting with a willingness to tolerate a little more unpredictability in children’s schedules and a little less structure at home."

“'I think more than anything, adults are a little fearful of children’s play,' said Joan Almon, executive director of the Alliance for Childhood, a nonprofit pro-play group."


"Ms. Rosker has also campaigned, although unsuccessfully, to bring recess to her son’s elementary school."

Hey, "Untidy" is my middle name. (And my Confirmation name is Recess.) My mantra is "a little less structure at home." 

I know I'm out of touch with the world of school when an article like this surprises me, but more than anything, it saddens me. No recess? At all? Of course I'm aware of the changes in the world that affect child rearing, and I know parents who seem ruled by their children's organized sports or activity schedules. They often lament it but seldom take steps to change it, as if it simply has to be that way.

It doesn't. We are free agents; we can choose our parenting methods. We can say no to constant structure. We can say no to pushing kids into growing up too fast, leaving play behind too soon.  We can say no to those nasty real estate agents on HGTV who act as if a home strewn with toys is akin to a toxic waste dump.

We once had a priest friend over and he sweetly labeled my living room (which at the time still housed the Little Tikes kitchen) a pleasant combination of "Catholicism, culture, and kids." I loved that. I want to keep it that way.

As long as there is a child in this house, there will be play and messes. Don't get me wrong -- like everyone else, I have my days when I just want everything picked up. I have been known to lecture that my organizational skills have allowed me to create "a place for everything so that everything may be in its place."  But, such organizational skills are meant to make clean up easier. They are not meant to forbid play.

And when my daughters have all grown up, I'll still embrace my messy house if it means my grandchildren are creating the couch-cushion-fort of the century.

Ramona's room, after she's been playing who-knows-what.


Melanie B said...

Amen! I just finished cleaning and everything looks so nice I hate to see the mess come back. But even more I'd hate to see my children not playing.

TracyC. said...

Sane here...forts rule! And so do blocks and cars and legos and.....

Kimberlee said...

It's quite an extraordinary commentary on our society that we must have 'movements' advocating concepts as basic as play or even life itself. The most ridiculous line was 'An important part of the movement is teaching children themselves how to play.' Sounds like something out of sci fi - children who don't know how to play.