When I was growing up (I know, this shows that I’m REALLY old) – school started after Labor Day. The school year ended right around Memorial Day – so we had three full months to be just be a kid. That meant we had three months to play outside all day and late into the evening. Three months of chasing butterflies, fly balls and Frisbees. Three months of reading comic books with our best friend, going to movies, sleeping late and just plain hanging out.
Apparently the educators of the world have decided that ‘just being a kid’ isn’t good enough and the way to solve that problem is to shorten summer to about TWO MONTHS – and in some cases , not even that, if you put your child in every ‘special’ program available – including sports! Children no longer get to make their own fun, let their spirits roam free or ‘hang-out’ with their buddies. Every minute of every day is structured to make sure a child becomes the best baseball player, soccer player, volleyball player, math/science wiz, student – whatever will lead to later success in life.
School is starting earlier and earlier (my grandchildren start on August 12th and I have had some parents tell me that their children started on July 31st!) – cutting into that precious time when children get to explore the world around them – without an adult telling them exactly how they should see it. We are so afraid that children will ‘forget’ what they learned throughout the year, we have taken away the very thing that makes childhood so precious – time to play.