At Boston College, Dr Peter Gray is a research professor of psychology. He has recently published a book “Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life”. He is also an author of the highly acclaimed textbook named “Psychology”.

In his recent book, Dr. Peter Gray has provided a magnificent idea, which is shared here in this post.

As a research psychologist and PhD scholar, he has been to lots of school. He said that he was a problem solver and good at algebra, calculus and many other mathematic fields, but all these have nothing to do with facing the real life problems. Only place to tackle these hurdles are when you are at work.

The real day to day problems that can be faced by any individual are: physical, social, moral, and emotional troubles. School studying and mathematical statements don’t provide solution to any of these issues. They can be tackled only with wisdom, good judgment and creative abilities.

The professor further stated that as he was born in 1950s in United States, he is very lucky. Howard Chudacoff, a historian, named this era as golden age of children free play. In those times, child labor has reduced dramatically and children used to have fun.  In primary schools, the time table had been scheduled for six hours in which half-hour recesses in the morning and afternoon, and whole lunch hour was provided.

Children Playing Board game.
Children Playing Board game.

Picture credit

After school hours, most of the children do a bit of work just to have sense of responsibility and own money; but that time was also not much and they were free for most of the hours. They remained free in all summers and weekend because there was no home work in primary school and in secondary school, it was very minute. As children were free for most of the hours, they learned so many new things and enjoyed freedom of playing.

In this present day, the Education Secretary is planning to elongate school hours because of the report he got from School Teachers Review Body. He was thinking about the proposal to raise the UK test scores to the level of Singapore and China along with various other East Asian countries.

This action of the Gove appeared after a new report issued in China by the education Minister. This report title is Ten Regulations to Lessen Academic Burden for Primary School Students. This report emphasizes on less academic burden, short school hours and less dependence on the test scores to check student intelligence.

Dr Peter Gray stated that mammals’ young spend too much time in playing and they learn during the process. It can be seen that the animals that have more challenging goals in lives play more, as carnivores play more than any herbivore young, it is because of the facts that carnivores have to hunt in order to survive, while herbivores have to graze only. As being human, our children have loads more to do for survival and have so many needs, so playing can help to understand various life challenges at the young age.
The most important lessons  life are how to live happy and productive along with the following of moral values; these three lessons cannot be found in any text books and school teachers also don’t teach them. While during playing, children learn to cooperate with others, and develop creativity and control over their emotions.

As the future of our generation, we need children who can answer new questions and seek new ventures. We don’t want robot like kids. As for pre-existing answers, we can get them on search engines, and for math calculations, we have computers and calculators. We need creative minds that can tackle upcoming problems of human race.

Every kid is creative and has the ability to make the imaginary world. These characteristics of children can be found in their day to day playing. As we all know that Albert Einstein is a genius. He said that his mathematics and physics interest has been destroyed by his schooling and after he left the school he made so many discoveries. He said that his innovative work is combinatorial play. The basis of Einstein concept of relativity was created by his imagination; he thought what would be the consequences when he chased sunbeam and caught up with it.

Creativity cannot be taught obviously but it can be driven out. It is not necessary that children only get to ask the questions provided by the curriculum, they must be made to ask more so they just don’t get restricted.

Playing teaches so many things to children. They learn to follow rule and to control impulses. They also learn to behave. Controlling fear is also a thing that playing teaches. Anger management is also learned during play like if any game player doesn’t follow the rule properly, all the other children don’t start to beat him up.

A research was conducted in which monkeys and rats were allowed to interact but restrictions were applied on any kind of gameplay. In their adulthood, these animals react very odd when they were provided with altered conditions like in frightening surroundings, they feared extra. Even when they were placed with the peer they didn’t know, they didn’t cop up very good as compared to the normal animals. They also don’t know how to be friends.

People may consider it as a cruel act but this is what happening with the kids with everyday school burden. With school, children also need to play. As we cared too much about our future, we must let these young minds to flourish on their own. Children must allowed to grow intellectually, emotionally, socially and physically strong so they can be a creative adult. The Chinese have realized it; other nations should also do the same.

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