Children need to practice all of their thinking, communicating, planning, innovating, collaborating, and implementing skills—REAL PLAY (DEEP PLAY) and REAL SOCIAL INTERACTIONS Provide the Time and Space for Practice–more support in the the following research article: ORIGINAL RESEARCH ARTICLE Front. Psychol., 17 June 2014 | https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00593 Less-structured time in children’s daily lives predicts self-directed executive functioning Jane E. Barker1*, Andrei D. Semenov1, Laura Michaelson1, Lindsay S. Provan1, Hannah R. Snyder2 and Yuko Munakata1 1Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, CO, USA 2Department of Psychology, University of Denver, Denver, CO, USA
If we want to get better at something, most of us need practice. Preschoolers deserve the time, opportunities, and settings to practice–and thus accomplish–the four major tasks of early childhood: development of Self/Worth-Esteem, Humanity-Esteem, Inner Discipline (Self-Regulation), and the Tools of the Mind.
This doesn’t mean we cannot guide them, and teach them strategies to accomplish these crucial “Tools of the Mind” tasks, but it does mean that if we want our children to become independently skilled in these capacities, we must provide them with enough time, opportunities, and settings in which they can freely practice–and that is what I have termed “REAL Play” or “Deep Play” and REAL Social Interactions.
Thus–we definitely should not be making academics the major focus of any early childhood curriculum. Academics can be given a rightful place as an individualized and joyous component of what each individual child is ready and eager to learn. REAL PLAY or Deep Play, coupled with natural, REAL Socially-Interactions, remain the foundational vehicles that allow children the joyful and meaningful “practice time” they deserve to develop and hone their “Tools of the Mind” skills and capacities, and wonderfully, to do so while simultaneously engaging in the development of their “whole-self”–most importantly, the development of their Self-Worth/Esteem, Humanity-Esteem, and (Self-Regulation).
I am reminded that folks who can do a lot of damage to others and to the world often possess great skills and capacities to think, communicate, plan, innovate, collaborate, and innovate. It is the development in human beings of true Self-Worth/Esteem (not narcissism), Humanity-Esteem, and Inner Discipline that channels all of these skills and capacities to can help us to continue to use our human endeavors to make a just and prosperous world for all.