Our educational system is at a crossroads. Our K-12 schools adhere to an outdated industrial model of education even though we are firmly in the Information Age. Higher education is under fire for not teaching students enough real world skills or providing sufficient value for the cost. New models of learning, from formal online education, to MOOCs, and other free educational options spring up on a daily basis to push traditional institutions in new directions. Despite all of this pressure, few educational reformers have considered that a fundamental shift in what learning should be is really the answer to changing our system to meet the needs of 21st Century learners.
Play as a foundation for educational change works well for all the reasons mentioned to this point, but more important for the very reason given in the Dr. Spock quote that introduces this section, “A child loves his play, not because it’s easy, but because it’s hard.” Learning is hard and should be. Effort and perseverance are essential to success in anything and reimagining education at all levels as an experience that is so enjoyable that students want to give a maximum effort can only have positive results for the learners involved, their parents, teachers, and society as a whole. It is time to stop thinking about education as work or a chore and begin trying to maximize the potential of schooling for all learners from birth through old age by making it fun and natural. The most efficient and obvious way to do that is through making play the focus of education as it has been throughout human history, prior to the invention of formal education, that is.I use to live in Rochester NY and recently rediscovered my favorite place to play with my son when he was a toddler: The Strong Museum. Above information is from: Reflections on a Day at the Museum of Play: by Justin Marquis Ph.D.