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Let children learn from play the good old fashioned way

Original post made by Paly Parent, Palo Alto High School, on Jan 27, 2014

A friend forwarded me this article and I find it fascinating.

Kids need to play more as kids to learn how to deal with the adult world. I know I grew up with tons more freedoms than the kids of today and I think I can deal with real life problems a lot better than some of the twenty somethings with fancy college degrees who have never had to deal with life outside of a text book.

What do you think? Web Link

Comments (9)

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Posted by Paly Alum
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 27, 2014 at 11:59 am

Thank you for the article, but the world has changed since growing up in the 60s and 70s. And there is no way Palo Alto children can have a lot of play time. First, because there are a limited amount of other children to play with (not many stay-at-home moms). Secondly, there is too much homework in middle and high schools. Back in the day, I would skateboard or bike all over town and meet others at our elementary school after hours. And at Paly, there wasn't as much homework as the students have now. We could hang out after school back then. Also, Palo Alto is now filled with NERDS and geeks - kids who lack social skills.

There is such a lack of free time for our children now - even weekends are not sacred. My children have mostly working weekends due to excessive homework. And before anyone assumes I expect all "A"s from my children, not at all the case. "A"s are not easy to obtain from PAUSD high schools in general, unless it's P.E. or an elective. I try to make free time for my children when I can. In fact, my senior is picking a college where there is a good social life, precisely because of the missed social life here.


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Posted by Paly Parent
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jan 27, 2014 at 11:08 pm

I think the article is speaking about younger kids than high school.

Here is an article in a similar vein from Australia about play reducing bullying, etc. Web Link


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Posted by Paly Alum
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 28, 2014 at 8:49 am

@Paly Parent: There is play going on around town but parents have to initiate playdates. No longer are there children-filled neighborhoods, but look at our playgrounds - there are children out there. There are children who have daycare after school but they can play on weekends. Some have nannies but the nannies set-up playdates too.

As far as bullying, this occurs more so because of deficient parenting, not because of lack of play time. More moms are working these days vs. 60s/70s, yet bullying occurred back then too, but less. There are too many distractions for parents these days that children get shoved to the back burner.

Remember that we are in Palo Alto, full of competitive parents who emphasize intellect. Thus, many of them are going to prioritize academics rather than play time. But there are parents out there who see the significance of playtime - you just have to hope your grade level has some of these parents.

A Menlo Park dad blogs about playtime for children: Web Link


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Posted by A Geek with Social Skills
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 29, 2014 at 10:55 am

"Also, Palo Alto is now filled with NERDS and geeks - kids who lack social skills", says Paly Alum. Those nerds and geeks grew up to revolutionize the world of science, technology and medicine with their designs and ideas. I'm confident that our next generation of young geeks-in-training will do the same.


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Posted by HAHAHAHAHA
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 29, 2014 at 2:12 pm

Yeah, but they still can't get a date Sat nite,


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Posted by A Geek with Social Skills
a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 2, 2014 at 2:46 pm

HAHAHAH - speaking for yourself, I'm sure.


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Posted by Kerry
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 2, 2014 at 3:11 pm

It is not only about play time, but the FREEDOM to create their own rules.


Web Link

Back to the future....


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Posted by Paly Alum
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 2, 2014 at 4:41 pm

I apologize for insulting nerds and geeks. Truth is, I find many nerds have a funny sense of humor and are much more interesting than partiers. In fact, I am married to a nerd who has revolutionized science. BUT there are many nerds/geeks who seriously lack social skills (prior to adulthood), and when my children are trying to find friends and learn social skills, I wish there were more nerds/geeks with good social skills for them to friend.


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Posted by Geek who thrived
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 3, 2014 at 7:33 pm

@Paly Alum,
Having been the scholarship kid (to bring up test scores, no doubt) at a private school in another part of the country where the kids had all the wealth but none of the drive and smarts, and where every hair, fiber, or article of clothing on one's person could be subject to the most excruciating scrutiny or scorn at any moment, I find this place a refreshing nerd utopia. I asked my kid upon the start of middle school if kids make fun of each other for what they wear. The answer? Pretty much no one cares. I think the kids are much more collegial here, and I personally find that a much nicer social atmosphere. I think people here tend to be very accepting of diversity.

I'd love to see our schools begin an initiative to put more value on creativity, play, collaboration, and especially valuing mistakes and problem solving. It seems to me the grade system doesn't really allow much room for that. I hear a lot of lip service given to those things but not much cultivation in the curriculum.

I love geeks. I love living in Nerd Utopia.


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