This post is reprinted from the Mission Hill School Newsletter, 4.28.17. DEY Co-director Geralyn Bywater McLaughlin is a also teacher of three and four-year-olds (K0) at Mission Hill School in Boston, MA.
Dear Mission Hill School Friends, Families, Students and Staff,
“Look! Look at this flower!”
“Can you take a picture for my mom?”
“It is so beautiful!”
As we entered the South Playground on Monday, the K0 students marveled at how much the outdoor space had changed over April break. Trees were blooming, buds were blossoming, flowers were bursting forth. Some students sat quietly and gazed in amazement. Others shouted proclamations of their discoveries. The trees had dropped a variety of seeds throughout our play space, providing new props for play and prompting questions: What is this? Is it a snail? Is it poop? Where did it come from? Some seed pods became babies, as the children collected and cradled them in their hands, caring for them as though they were their own children. So much was happening. It was truly amazing and reminded me quickly of why I love spending time with young children, especially in nature.
There is a reason why Screen-Free Week happens in the spring. It is because nature is one of the best antidotes to too much technology. Nature helps bring balance to our fast-paced, consumer-driven, media-filled world. Ask any gardener and they will agree – there is nothing like the sensory experience of digging in dirt, smelling the earth, seeing the plants, feeling fresh air on the skin and the warmth of the sun. Children understand this and are fascinated by all there is to ponder and explore.
Did you know that each week, American children spend more time in front of a screen than they do in school?!? This year, we continue the tradition of celebrating Screen-Free Week at Mission Hill School. This is a great way to jump-start our kids (and ourselves) into more time outdoors, as well as more reading and learning – and it is a lot of fun! It is also a chance for families to talk about and recalibrate their digital diet. Please check out http://www.screenfree.org/ for lots of info about helping your family unplug, research on the effects of children’s screen time, and more.
When you give up your screen entertainment, it is good to have a plan ahead of time. We have some events to help you!
Family Fun Night – Thursday, 5/4/17 5:45pm – 7pm
Community Beautification Day – Friday, 5/5/17 10:00am – 12:00pm
Community Beautification Day – Saturday, 5/6/17 10:00am – 12:00 pm
Happy Screen-Free Week!
-Geralyn Bywater McLaughlin, K0 teacher