In 2016, Global School Play Day went viral in schools. Over 177,000 students from six continents were registered to celebrate play on February 3, 2016, a number that grew to over 283,000 in 2017. How many kids will be playing in schools February 7th, 2018? Jay Eitner promotes the importance of regular, unstructured play for the best development of children.
In 2015, a small group of six educators took action and created Global School Play Day because of their concern that adults and technology were encroaching on playtime for children. Schools are eliminating recess. Teachers are assigning more and more homework. Parents are scheduling every waking minute for their kids. Young children are addicted to their devices. The GSPD team was Inspired to take action by Dr. Peter Gray in his TEDx talk where he argues the case that today’s kids do not grow up playing, which has led to an increase in childhood depression, stress related issues, and the highest suicide rates in history. On February 4, 2015, over 65,000 children participated in the first ever Global School Play Day after only four weeks of social media promotion from those six educators. Superintendent Jay Eitner is proud to be one of those who not only signed up his district, but championed the cause.
“The need for our students to be kids is paramount in today’s world”, Jay Eitner said. “Our learners are constantly bogged down with testing, instruction, and stress. Nothing is better than everyone taking a break to let brains process the joy of being a child and just playing. The scads of research have made the case that play contributes to creativity, so why not dedicate more time to it?”
Then, last year the third annual Global School Play Day for students went viral. Over 177,000 young people were registered by their administrators or teachers to participate. Schools from around the world stood together to say, “Unstructured play is a vital part of proper child development!” Global School Play Day is for public schools, private schools, and homeschool families! Many are helping to spread the word about the benefits of play. Why has this movement been so well-received? Because kids have forgotten how to play!