Child Development Problems Not School Related

This morning I was watching Today Show and they shared a story about how children who are over scheduled are not developing correctly. Some of that development is not knowing (what I feel to be) common knowledge information. Over-scheduling children is not allowing them to have the free time that they need to learn on their own. It may also be keeping them from being successful on their own.

As a teacher I’ve heard several reasons why students need to have the team building outside of school because in the classroom students are just study, learn, sit and other non-physical activities. Parents want their child to be able to work well with others and I agree, but I know some students who are in football, then wrestling, then basketball, then swimming, then baseball throughout the entire year. Some kids never get a break.

Now, I know that we can’t just blame parents for not allowing play. Recently there have been several articles about Finland allowing free time during the school day for kids to play. So schools do need to allow more free time. However, in most schools the test scores are low, so they take away that recess time.

How do we go about changing the mindset of Americans that free play time for kids is healthy. When I was a kid I was told to go outside and play. Were there times I was bored? Heck yea! I would go inside and say I was bored and my parents would say, “Go outside and find something to do.” They didn’t hold my hand and find something for me, they made me go away. I had to become creative and learn to play on my own.

I’m not trying to blame anyone here, I’m just sharing that I feel kids need more free time. They need time to just play and be kids. Heck, even adults need more time to just play and have fun. When was the last time you went and threw around a football? When was the last time you played with an empty box? When was the last time that you were creative and not just sitting in front of the television?

The paintings above are what I did this past week. I want to have color in my classroom this year and so I’m trying to create pieces of art that also have some math in them so I can turn to them when needed. It’s time to be creative. It’s time to have free time. It’s time for EVERYONE not to have such busy schedules.

About Anthony Purcell

I am Anthony Purcell and I am currently teaching math in Oklahoma.
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5 Responses to Child Development Problems Not School Related

  1. Absolutely agree with you Anthony. I use to think we should eliminate recess fro my 6th graders so we could have more time in content. I was wrong. I use to assign homework. I was wrong. Thanks for articulating that we need to let our kids explore what they’re interested in, even if it’s something that we adults might not find value in.

    • I really like one example that Dave Burgess shares in “Teach Like a Pirate”. He doesn’t assign homework, but he challenged students to walk from the school to the beach. Something that takes 7-10 hours, but they wanted to do it! I want to find some fun challenges this next year for students to do.

  2. Reblogged this on Random Teacher Thoughts and commented:

    So I realized that I wrote this post on my old blog.

  3. Kaitlyn Rudy says:

    I am a student research assistant at Montana Tech of the University of Montana. Technology has created exciting ways to connect with others and form professional learning networks. As a part of an active member of a social media community made up of teachers, I wanted to contact you to ask you to participate in a study our research group is conducting.

    Research shows that face-to-face professional networks provide much needed professional and personal support to teachers. You and the community you belong to are providing these types of support using social media. We are interested in learning more about your experiences using social media to connect with other teachers and your opinions about online professional networks.

    The purpose of our study is to learn how professional learning networks created through social media are similar or different than face-to-face networks and what you feel are advantages of using social media to connect with other teachers. Our hope is that the results of this study will inform how professional networks for teachers are designed in the future. If you are interested in participating, please send an email to me at I will send you a link to a short online survey and will set up time for a short skype interview.

    If you have any questions you would like to ask about the study, please do not hesitate to contact me.


    Kaitlyn Rudy
    Research Assistant
    Department of Mathematical Sciences
    Montana Tech of the University of Montana

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