Put the Research in the Parents’ Hands


The classroom is where neuroscience meets the road.

As educators, we spend hours planning, observing, adapting, collaborating, innovating, and, in the end, we hope facilitating learning in the small children in our charge.  We research best practices. We follow scientific studies on brain development.  And despite what your other adult friends at cocktail parties may think, it is not all about glue, scissors and babysitting.  We keep a keen eye on neuroscience, because really, the classroom is where neuroscience meets the road.

Promoting the greater policy – play.

So how do we help promote the greater policy of play based education?  How do we help parents see the value in play? Especially, parents who are bombarded with early academic messages (apps, commercials, playground bench bragging, YouTube links).  Parents, I believe, want what we all want - the best for their child.  It's a hectic life being a parent of a preschooler.  Throw in 2 or 3 other children with a demanding schedule, jobs, illnesses, skinned knees, when would anyone have time to research child development issues?

Put the research in the parents’ hands.

That is where educators step in.  Stop judging the parents and start giving them a boost up.  Put the research in their hands.  So when you hear: My child just loves worksheets or the parents want an art product at the end of the day or look at this great app for tracing letters on the iPad or we do flashcards every night - be armed with research.  We are in an age of information.  Everyone wants it, so hand it over.  

Peter Gray, Ph.D. – The Play Researcher.

This month, Psychology Today, has done the work for you.  Peter Gray, Ph.D., gives educators just what they need to educate parents.  His article, Early Academic Training Produces Long-Term Harm, http://bit.ly/1csrMzx highlights not only highlights the immediate benefits of play based learning, but also the long term harm of a purely academic early childhood approach.  Practioners see how play based education works, the results it garners, the deep, long lasting learning experienced.  Peter Gray gives you the scientific research to back it up. 

Be Curious.

So, take a moment. Look at what is happening in your classroom.  If you can’t explain the science behind your educational philosophy, be curious.  Dig deep. And then pass it on to the parents.  They need a break.