Playtime Isn’t Just for Preschoolers—Teenagers Need It, Too

Sacred Heart Greenwich Middle School Faculty Blog

Time.com

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Hilary G. Conklin, Ph.D., is a fellow with the OpEd Project and an associate professor in the College of Education at DePaul University in Chicago.

Helicopter parents and teachers, stand down. Kids of all ages need time to learn through play in school.

In classrooms across the country, the countdown to summer vacation has begun. The winter doldrums have always taken a toll, but in the era of test-dominated schooling and the controversial Common Core, it seems increasingly that it’s not until summer that teenagers have any prospect for having fun any more.

One of the casualties of current education reform efforts has been the erosion of play, creativity, and joy from teenagers’ classrooms and lives, with devastating effects. Researchers have documented a rise in mental health problems—such as anxiety and depression—among young people that has paralleled a decline in children’s…

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