John Jarpe: Keep the magic years alivePublished 2:13pm Friday, July 12, 2013
By John Jarpe, Supt. Brandywine Community Schools
We had the pleasure of having our 3-year-old grandson stay at our house for a few days.
We had a wonderful time and, as I always say, after more than a couple days of child care, it’s a bit of a relief somewhat to come back to work and get some rest.
The zoo, the beach, parks, the back yard and just playing at home were all moments of joy.
I always marvel at how Benjamin can take a touch screen tablet and navigate the device, finding games and short videos without even knowing how to read. However, his parents are careful to limit the screen time and make sure he has lots of other ways to play inside and out. That’s so important, because kids need to be active creators in their environments.
Watching a small child play with toys or outside in a sandbox reminded me how precious those early years are.
Little kids have great imaginations and they can make up stories and games as they play. I read a book for a psychology class over 40 years ago called “The Magic Years,” by Selma Fraiberg.
She talks about that very point and how important those magic years are to our future development.
I just thought of that book as I watched Benjamin play and if I can’t find it somewhere at home, I’m going to find it online and read it again.
As educators, we all need to remember how important play is and fostering creativity.
I’m as eager as anyone else to make sure our kids are tech savvy and have access to devices to make learning more inviting and engaging. But, I must remember that the time spent playing in sandboxes and using that great childhood imagination can’t be taken from our children either. We cannot and must not cut short the Magic Years.