Nowadays kids aren’t living like they used to fifty or even twenty years ago. Life just isn’t the same, and things change as society develops and everything gets more complicated. Namely, the parents and the education system’s priorities have changed. Having done away with the ways of old, kids spend much more time focusing on school than enjoying themselves. As made blatantly clear in a video by Tedx Talks, this shift has caused a problem in the current generations. In the video Peter Gray highlights the fact that depression rates and suicide rates for children and teens is on the rise, and has been for the past sixty years. Can you see what I’m getting at?
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We are lacking emphasis on vital aspects of childhood and growth, and now the results of this are clear. The kids are suffering, and as someone who has experienced anxiety and depression as a young adult, I know this can not be ignored. Luckily, some amazing people have taken the time to make an effort for the better. Global School Play Day was created in order to remind us to take some time to just play. One period dedicated solely to giving students a chance to play as they please? Man, I’ll take it! Teachers are taking a day off of instruction and allowing their students to have free play for the whole class period. The only rule is that no electronics are allowed, but other than that students are free to do whatever they want.
“…With recess getting shorter and shorter, us teachers noticed those kids don’t know how to play together. They lack those social skills.”- Urteaga
My time during Global School Play Day consisted of struggling to play a card game I brought in that I’d wanted to try for a while, but never had anyone to play with. That idea went down the drain fast, leaving my two friends and me to play with Play-Dough. Not having to talk much, we just sat there doing as we pleased and listening to the voices of our peers as they enjoyed themselves inside and outside of the classroom. It felt just like my elementary school days were back as I recalled all the times I’d sat on the floor with twenty or so other first graders, lost in the warm haze of youth. Going outside probably would have been much more fun, since some kid brought out a volleyball, or even playing sorry would have been a good idea. Regretfully, it’s only now that I realize playing is much more fun when done in large groups, when looking back on my lackluster trio of quiet peers.
Even more so, compared to my childhood memories, it seems like I’ve lost the ability to play. Cut short by the all-too-common family crisis and unstoppable force that is school, my time of carefree play and experience was limited more than others. The way I feel now, I realize, would not be the same had I the chance to grow up with the ability to play as much as others. Living a life riddled with anxiety, social awkwardness, and drowning in a sea of melancholy, I fear for others who have to grow up in the same way I did. Truly, it’s time for change. Going about this should be done right, however, and teachers should work on improving the impact of this day for students.
Perhaps in the future we could make this even school wide, and have it last all day. I saw this because having it limited to only certain classes at a time doesn’t allow students to fully enjoy their time, especially if they don’t know anyone well essentially making their day of play a wasted effort. Additionally, I believe that making it last all day would have a bigger impact on the students. Sure, students get away with free periods all the time, but dedicating a whole day to play makes it seem like education system is really motivated to spread awareness and change the lives of students. Also, teachers could suggest even more memorable and outrageous ideas to their students in advance to allow for further preparation. If I had more time I would have gone all out and broken out the cotton candy machine and it would have been lit. With some more pushing, I believe Global School Play Day can become even more successful. The experiences we, as humans, have as children and young adults shape us into who we are as adults, so it’s only right to give younger generations what they need to succeed in life, after all, isn’t that the purpose of school?