These words don’t come easily. I find myself in a position where I am left with no other choice but to wear my heart on my sleeve and ask a favor.
Could you please give your child time to play?
I want to provide this for them in school. I miss the days of a dress up trunk and play kitchen. I miss the block corner and a craft table. Your children need these things, and I can no longer provide them.
As you know, the day is busy. We are in a new era of education. Opinions on that aside, I want you to know I recognize the change. The academic rigor is good, but it pushes other things out of the picture.
Your child is learning higher level mathematical concepts at a much earlier age. Algebra is introduced in first grade now. But there is a cost, and exploring geometry through Legos and wooden blocks just doesn’t fit in.
The writing your child is doing is amazing. There are insights and opinions and text-based evidence, but I had to let something go to make room for this. Unfortunately, we don’t really have time for the creative writing we used to see so much of. It’s not gone, but it feels that way sometimes.
Complex texts and more non-fiction is filling our day. This provides amazing connections with social studies and science. But we lose much of what was familiar about grade school. We don’t learn the 50 states and capitals anymore, and the solar system study is no longer about making models of the planets.
The technology is amazing. Computers are putting more information at their fingertips than we could have found in any encyclopedia. But it does mean more time in front of screens, and typing trumps cursive. I know that’s hard to swallow, but it’s just the best use of our time.
Art and music and physical education are still there for most of us, but not in the classroom. They are one session a week as a “special,” but I just don’t have the time or resources to pull the paints out in the classroom anymore. I’m not sure how I could justify it with everything else that must be taught.
Thankfully, reading is still an essential part of our day. We read books and articles and primary sources. It’s wonderful to open up new worlds of information. But it had to take the place of something and reading for fun seemed to be the thing that fell away. It breaks my heart, but this is why I need you.
I need you to bridge this gap with me. When your children come home please fill these voids.
Let them be messy with glitter and paint. I know it’s hard, but they need time to be creative.
Let them be loud. Let them run and get dirty outside. I know there is not a lot of time, but their bodies need freedom to move.
Let them read a book just because it’s beautiful. I know you’re busy with dinner and homework, but the beauty of words can inspire them to dream.
Let them try new things. Go places. Visit the library just because. Play tag. Build a tower. Let their imagination run free.
Kids need this. Play will only help them become better learners, thinkers, and creators. No matter how old or young they may be, please make time for them to play.
I will do my best for them in the classroom. I will provide academic rigor and teach all that I’m supposed to. On top of that I’ll try to squeeze in opportunities for all that’s been pushed aside. I’ll do what I can, but I need your help.
Please, give them time to play.
A Teacher Who Wants the Best