Make sure they get out­side, and they have space and time to think and dream

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - Best Weekend - - FRONT PAGE -

nt po­si­tion. In an ideal world par­ents would be the ones to give this kind of play-based, ex­ploratory and cre­atively-en­rich­ing en­vi­ron­ment to our chil­dren. But kids are legally re­quired to at­tend school and, from a fi­nan­cial per­spec­tive, to own a home in most of our ma­jor cities re­quires that most fam­i­lies have two par­ents work­ing. Kids can only ex­plore so much on a 600sqm block.

But there is much we can do. At home we can make sure our kids aren’t too bogged down in home­work, which is em­pir­i­cally shown to be un­help­ful prior to high school, and we can an min­imise struc­tured af­ter school ac­tiv­i­ties.

We can en­sure they get out­side, and they have space and time to think and dream. And, most im­por­tantly, we can give them plenty of time to play.

As to the an­swer to the big de­bate — yes, if your fam­ily sit­u­a­tion per­mits it, de­lay. But not be­cause your child doesn’t know his let­ters, or can’t use the toi­let yet, but be­cause the real work of child­hood is play. nu s c c

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