The TES, once known as the Times Educational Supplement, is Britain's premier education magazine/website, with close to 8 million readers. Today they're learning about the Let Grow Project and After School Free Play initiatives of Let Grow.
The article (mostly an interview with me) points out how the Let Grow Project is different from other efforts to teach kids resilience, in that it DOESN'T teach. It gives kids the chance they have lost in our over-structured, over-protected era to go out and learn it themselves. As reporter Sarah Cunnane puts it:
Skenazy has become a crusader for what she calls “Free Range Kids”, an attempt to work against a society that has become overly obsessed with safety. She hopes that schools will take up her cause by getting children involved in the “Let Grow” project, where children are invited to do one thing that they feel ready to do that, for whatever reason, they haven’t done yet.
“It could be walking the dog, making dinner, going to pick up something for your little brother at the store,” she explains. “It’s just anything that’s independent that I think we would’ve done without a second thought when we were younger.”
Seven schools in the US state of Long Island were so taken with this idea that they have set it as a weekly task for their students.
“The transformation is so weirdly gigantic on the part of the kid, but more important in a way on the part of the parent,” Skenazy says. “When the kid comes back through the door and they brought the bread for dinner, it’s like they came back from the new world. ‘Guess what. There’s a place over there, I’m gonna call it America!’”
The benefit of this scheme, Skenazy says, is that it enables schools to play an active role in helping children to develop resilience without the school needing to dedicate any classroom time or cash to the effort.
...And, she says, giving children time to get out of “student mode” can help them sow the seeds for success in later life.
After-School Free Play is just as basic. To the mix of homework help, soccer, and any other after-school program offered by a school or community center, add free play -- play that kids organize themselves. And give them loose parts -- PVC pipe, fabric, tires -- to play. As they figure out what they want to do and how to do it, they are becoming competent, social adults.
Cheerio! - L.