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Let's Defend the Right of Children to Play!

One thing we cherish and can thankfully take for granted at The Children’s School is that every student has the chance to play every day. That includes all of our students from kindergarten through eighth-grade.

At The Children’s School, we don’t believe in an artificial separation between learning and play. Our Pond early childhood classrooms are rooted in play-based learning. Yet play-based learning doesn’t disappear in grades 3-8, it’s just as important! As the grades progress, play-based learning simply takes on different forms. That’s why often our academic skill-building time might look like a game, or why a group project on cooking might incorporate science, math, history and literature but feel extraordinarily playful and fun!

Yet in addition to the play-based learning that goes on in the classroom, on field trips, or in classes in the woods, we know it’s just as important that students of all ages have adequate time each day for unstructured free play. That’s why we have daily recess, and frequent play breaks and additional time for kids to play – and to play outside whenever possible!

Our teachers constantly observe and share with us that some of the deepest learning for students comes during these times of free play. Dozens of studies show the incredible learning benefits of free play (some specific benefits are listed on the fact sheet below, and we have several article on the importance of play on our resource page.)

Why Illinois Needs a Law

What we enjoy at The Children’s School is exceptional and far from the truth for all schoolchildren in our state. Recess and time for free play, if offered at all in some schools, keeps shrinking. Afterschool time is booked with lessons, groups, enrichments programs and homework. The little bit of free time children have is often consumed by video games or television instead of outside or in imaginative play with other children.

What’s worse is that the “punishment” for rule-breaking or uncooperative kids is often to take away what little free play time they do have. They’re kept indoors for recess or held afterschool for detention.

Right now, a coalition of organizations led by Illinois Families for Public Schools have banded together to support SB 654, “The Right to Play Every Day.” If passed, the bill would require all Illinois public schools to provide 60 minutes of unstructured play time for all children.

Our TCS community cares about all children, and we encourage everyone to contact their state legislators to convey support for SB 654. Let’s defend all children’s right to play. If you’d like to learn more about the effort to pass SB 654, you can visit the Illinois Families for Public Schools’ information page about the bill. Here’s a fact sheet below:


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