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Let the Children Play How More Play Will Save Our Schools and Help Children Thrive

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2019-08-01
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

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Play is how children explore, discover, fail, succeed, socialize, and flourish. It is a fundamental element of the human condition. It's the key to giving schoolchildren skills they need to succeed--skills like creativity, innovation, teamwork, focus, resilience, expressiveness, empathy, concentration, and executive function. Expert organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Academy of Sciences, and the Centers for Disease Control agree that play and physical activity are critical foundations of childhood, academics, and future skills--yet politicians are destroying play in childhood education and replacing it with standardization, stress, and forcible physical restraint, which are damaging to learning and corrosive to society.

But this is not the case for hundreds of thousands of lucky children who are enjoying the power of play in schools in China, Texas, Oklahoma, Long Island, Scotland, and in the entire nation of Finland. In Let the Children Play, Pasi Sahlberg, Finnish educator and scholar, and Fulbright Scholar William Doyle make the case for helping schools and children thrive by unleashing the power of play and giving more physical and intellectual play to all schoolchildren.

In the course of writing this book, Sahlberg and Doyle traveled worldwide, reviewed over 700 research studies, and conducted interviews with over 50 of the world's leading authorities on education. Most intriguingly, Let the Children Play provides a glimpse into the play-based experiments ongoing now all over the world, from rural China, Singapore, and Scotland to North Texas and Oklahoma, as well as the promising results of these bold new approaches. Readers will find the book to be both a call for change and a guide for making that change happen in their own communities.

Author Biography

Pasi Sahlberg is Professor of Education Policy at Gonski Institute for Education, University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. He is a Finnish educator who has studied education systems around the world. His work on learning through play has brought him the 2013 Grawemeyer Award, the 2014 Robert Owen Award, and the 2016 Lego Prize. His interests include teaching and learning in school, teacher education, and equity and quality of education. Former Senior Specialist at World Bank, Director General of the Ministry of Education in Finland, and Visiting Professor at Harvard University, he now lives with his family in Sydney.

William Doyle is a New York Times bestselling author and TV producer for networks including HBO, The History Channel and PBS. Since 2015 he has served as Fulbright Scholar, Scholar in Residence and Lecturer on Media and Education at University of Eastern Finland, a Rockefeller Foundation Resident Fellow, and advisor to the Ministry of Education and Culture of Finland. His child has attended public school in rural Finland and in New York City, at a desegregated public school.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Sir Ken Robinson

Chapter 1: The Coming Golden Age of Childhood
Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Fathers
Chapter 3: The Learning Power of Play
Chapter 4: The GERM that Kills Play
Chapter 5: An American Tragedy: The Death of Recess
Chapter 6: The Global War on Play
Chapter 7: The Great Play Experiments
Chapter 8: Play in the Schools of Tomorrow
Chapter 9: The Global Play Summit

1. The Declaration of Play - Call to Halt the War on Childhood
2. The Play Stages of a Child's School Life
3. 7 Steps to Help Children and Schools Thrive
4. Play Recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics

Source Notes

Supplemental Materials

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