Thursday, February 21, 2008

Imaginative Play

There was a segment played on NPR this morning. It discussed findings that indicate that time spent playing make-believe actually helped children develop a critical cognitive skill called executive function. Executive function has a number of different elements, but a central one is the ability to self-regulate. Kids with good self-regulation are able to control their emotions and behavior, resist impulses, and exert self-control and discipline.

You can read it here.
Or listen to it here.

"According to Berk, one reason make-believe is such a powerful tool for building self-discipline is because during make-believe, children engage in what's called private speech: They talk to themselves about what they are going to do and how they are going to do it.
"'In fact, if we compare preschoolers' activities and the amount of private speech that occurs across them, we find that this self-regulating language is highest during make-believe play,' Berk says. 'And this type of self-regulating language… has been shown in many studies to be predictive of executive functions.'
"'And it's not just children who use private speech to control themselves. If we look at adult use of private speech,' Berk says, 'we're often using it to surmount obstacles, to master cognitive and social skills, and to manage our emotions.'
"Unfortunately, the more structured the play, the more children's private speech declines. Essentially, because children's play is so focused on lessons and leagues, and because kids' toys increasingly inhibit imaginative play, kids aren't getting a chance to practice policing themselves. When they have that opportunity, says Berk, the results are clear: Self-regulation improves."
It made so much sense I felt like standing up and shouting "Amen!".

Thanks, Mom and Dad, for setting this pattern for us.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Food for Thought

Ignore the advertisement at the beginning. However, it is interesting to juxtapose the ad with the thoughts expressed in the last interview of the video.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Winter evening

I love this place.