WellesleyWeston Magazine

FALL 2015

Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

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als may be carcinogenic) that is always kept fluffy and replaced annually. "Keep an eye on play set nuts and bolts," he adds, "and make sure wood surfaces are sanded and stained annually to guard against splinters." Safety really does matter. But for small children there are other mat- ters to attend to: Learning the niceties of team sports, getting to music, dance, and drama lessons; dealing with homework — all taking time and all beginning at an earlier and earlier age. Is it any surprise such concerns are increasingly pre-empting what used to be called "child- hood," especially in light of the hypnotic enticements of television, video games, and the all-enveloping Internet? Which raises an interesting question: For if we all agree that child's play is a vital means to physical development, for acquiring a vibrant imagination, and the social skills that accrue from sandbox collabora- tions and the give and take of socialization, then perhaps we need to think longer and harder about the active play experiences we make for our children. A Controversy Linda Romero, chairman of the education department at Mass Bay Community college in Wellesley puts it this way: "Right now there's a huge controversy among educators concerning the role of play from the early childhood years through third grade. Teachers see the curricu- lum as being driven by testing and academics. It's effectively a push down from the elementary grades, where similar forces are at work. But little children need lots of opportunities for socialization and free play —and those opportunities are becoming fewer and farther between." In fact, one need not look too far into the past to discover that chil- dren were required to behave like little adults. The whole field of developmental psychology grew up around that misperception, and progressive educators are still keenly aware of the tension between what constitutes play on one hand, and intentional skills development, even to this day. 52 Child's Play W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e | f a l l 2 0 1 5 L i n d a R o m e r o Tenacre Country Day School, Wellesley C H I P R I E G E L

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