Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Screen Free Week; April 30-May 6

The count is on until Screen Free Week. Have you heard of it? Are you participating?
Screen Free week was formerly called "TV-Turnoff Week". It was started in 1994. It is a nationwide event that has millions of people participating annually. What is it? It's a week where there's no TV Screens, no computer screens, no telephone screens. What's that mean? No Facebook. No Twitter. No Google+. No Blogs. No Television. No Words With Friends. No Angry Birds.
Sound crazy?  Yeah, a little to me too. These things are part of our daily life. Why give them up for a week?

I am on the Executive Board of a Creative Curriculum Preschool. Also considered a Play Based Preschool. At a creative curriculum school, we stress the importance of developmentally appropriate practice. And at the preschool age, it is developmentally appropriate (actually, it's imperative) for children to play. Children learn by playing. This isn't just chaos. This is structured play that includes open ended activities for children, creating an environment in which they can naturally learn and ask questions about their world. And it is fabulous.
At our school, we are encouraging and advocating that the families in our school participate in Screen Free Week. Our reasons are simple: Let the Children PLAY!!! Let them be kids for a little while, the way kids are supposed to be. TALK TO EACH OTHER! Connect with one another, and "be" together. Be present.
Another blogger wrote a post that I could have written myself. I kid you not. Check out her post about Media Detox here!
I will admit, that at first, I thought it was crazy. Seriously crazy. But the more I thought about it, and the more times that my sons whined about the computer game, or fought over a TV show, or threw a fit because they couldn't pass a level of Mario on the Nintendo DS, the more it sounded like a really great idea.
Now, if I'm going to be honest with you all, I will say that during Screen Free Week, all bets are basically off once The Hubs gets home from work. At least, as far as the TV goes. So, what we have pledged to do is take a drastic decrease in TV time, and to eliminate computer & phone time during that week. (Computer time is permitted for necessary homework activities.) And, if I'm going to keep being honest with you... I'm pretty sure that I'll be online or on the "phone" screen when I'm not around the kids.
*sigh* I know. It's terrible. However, I am committed to minimizing it.
Instead of playing on Disney Jr's website, maybe we'll go outside and plant a garden. If it's warm, we can run through the sprinklers. We can take walks, or go to the park. We can visit the library. We can read books together.
Childhood 101 shared a great (Free Printable!) list of things to do that do not involve screens. Check it out and hang it on the fridge to reference when you need some fun ideas!

So, what do you think? Can you go Screen Free?