and work are the areas that help mold us in our adult lives,
then love and play (in a sense, a child’s work) does the
same in childhood. But
what has happened to children’s play in America, as we enter
the millennium? And
what does this mean for children, parents and, ultimately, our
society as a whole?
increasingly being observed, these days, that the line between
childhood and adulthood is ever narrowing and is, in some
cases, being downright inverted.
A recent article in The New York Times declared,
“Many experts on children and family life wonder whether the
changes in the way Americans work, live and take in
information are making childhood obsolete.”
We now see young children from the earliest grades of
elementary school with packed appointment books; juggling play
dates, lessons of various kinds, computer time, television
time and organized sports involving hours of team practice.
ideal, childhood is a time of fun, discoveries and
a time for children to play and “make-believe.”
A time when children can be silly and mischievous, and
can daydream and spin fantasies that have nothing to do with
the real world. It’s
also, of course a time to learn, and to gain a sense of
one’s self, and the surrounding world.
idealized vision of childhood is fading fast.
Today, learning and acquiring concrete skills has
become the focus of many young children’s lives—children
who have yet to enter kindergarten or first grade.
young children to simply play and daydream is becoming an
increasingly rare occurrence.
We now expect children to play and learn at the
same time. Educational
toys and hardware are currently the “hot sellers” for
children in pre-school through third grade.
And the target group for these products seems to be
getting younger (approximately nine to eighteen months).
workshop utilizes the current research in this field,
anecdotal material, and encourages interaction from
participants. Specific, concrete guidelines will be
offered, and Dr. Cohn’s pamphlet, Tomorrow’s Heroes:
Building Character and Compassion Through Play, will be made
available to workshop participants.