In this increasing era of too much “screen time” in the home, a serious paradox has surfaced. American Academy of Pediatrics is defining screen time as any time spent in front of the television, DVD, computer, I-Pod or video games. An end result to this overuse is: children are becoming inattentive, more disruptive and speech or language delays are at an alarming rate. Mounting evidence of this overuse points to the profound relationship between physical activity and healthy development-especially brain development.
Ironically, conventional schools pressure to improve children’s excitement about books and inquire a love for learning, what society calls “academic achievement”, has led many schools to adopt certain policies, such as eliminating recess or reducing the number of physical education (PE) classes, that put children at greater risk of developmental delays.
Montessori Tides Preschool and Montessori-inspired parents are providing powerful leadership to help reverse the worldwide epidemic of childhood “screen time” while they endeavor to give children well balanced, developmentally appropriate education that includes limitless opportunities for gross motor both indoor and outdoor, practical life, and cognitive skills that will lead to what Dr. Maria Montessori called “the normalized child”. A normalized child can be best described as a child who is functionally independent, well adapted, joyful, and peaceful, working with purpose that enables the child to focus and pay attention in all areas of life. In the words of Kathy Graham, “if you want your child to become excited about books and acquire a love of learning, turn off the screen and let them play outside!!”
It can be very rewarding for us adults to slow down, forget our plan, and follow the child’s inner drive and need to discover, smells, sees, hears, and touches the outside world. Aristotle said it best, “There is nothing in the intellect which was not first in the senses.”
To learn more about television viewing guidelines, visit the American Academy of Pediatrics.