This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
play at the things that they see adults doing,” he says. “They’re playing at hunting and they’re playing at digging up roots and they’re playing at the various dances of the culture.” In a literate culture like ours, free play often involves words (such as hopscotch rhymes) and numbers (such as scorekeeping). “When chil- dren are learning these things in play, they’re learning them in a context that’s meaningful to them, that makes sense to them,” Gray says. Finally, kids at play learn skills that neither they nor adults can necessar- ily identify. Elkind describes a story told by Maria Montessori, the famous Italian educator. Montessori once encountered a young girl who was so intent on sorting and stacking a set of graded cylinders that she ignored other children who were singing and marching around her. Finally, the girl


stopped and gave a beatific smile. “Montessori says, ‘We don’t know


what she learned, but she learned a great deal,’” Elkind recalls. “That’s the point. We, as adults, may not know what children are learning when they’re engaging in these repetitive activities, but for the child, it’s a learn- ing experience.”


Free Play in Scouting Of course, Scouting at all levels offers plenty of opportunity for free play: Cub Scouts exploring a creek during a family campout, Boy Scouts performing silly skits at a campfire, Venturers playing a pickup game of Hacky Sack after a long day on the Philmont trails. What’s more, the program brings together kids of various ages and offers a safe envi- ronment (no “stranger danger”) for young people to experience free play.


The trick is for Scout leaders to


take a step back and refrain from turning every game into a teach- able moment or filling every idle hour with belt loop or merit badge instruction. Otherwise, Scouting becomes yet another stress-inducing, achievement-oriented activity. In his research, Gray found a


causal relationship between the decline in free play and an alarming rise in anxiety among kids. “Kids are spending so much time in our culture on achievement-oriented things that we’re quite literally driving some kids crazy,” he says. Scouting offers an ideal oppor-


tunity to restore some sanity to childhood. All we have to do is remember the words of Scouting founder Robert Baden-Powell. In The Wolf Cub’s Handbook, he wrote, “Play is the first great educator.” ¿


THE FLIGHT SIMULATOR SALUTE


PILOT


THE FLAG THE SHIP


Plan your troop’s next big overnight adventure on one of the most famous aircraft carriers in U.S. naval history.


National Historic Landmark


MEGA Movie Deck Tours Chow Time Ghost Stories Virtual Battle Stations Patriotic Flag Ceremony Patch and More BIG FUN!


BOOK YOUROVERNIGHT CAMPOUT TODAY!


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56