Preschool and early elementary school teachers are under great pressure to teach academic skills to little children and, therefore, to reduce or eliminate free play. The policies that create such pressure have been imposed despite the evidence from many research studies that such training has no long-term benefit and often causes long-term harm. In this Keynote, Prof Gray will present some of the evidence that early academic training interferes with children’s intellectual, social, and emotional development, with descriptions of the mechanisms through which such interference occurs.
In this interactive Workshop, see how play can be self-chosen, self-directed, and intrinsically motivated as an activity. Then, with examples both from research literature and experiences of the workshop participants, examine the ways by which play promotes children’s social, moral, emotional, and intellectual development and provides a powerful vehicle for acquiring the skills required for a successful life.
In this Workshop, Prof Gray reviews evidence showing how play deprivation creates serious psychological damage to young people today. How can we restore children’s play, both in and out of school in today’s world? Here, Prof Gray suggests some possible solutions and engages in an exciting brainstorming session with participants about ways of enabling more play in the specific environments in which we live and work.
Children come into the world exquisitely designed by natural selection to learn about the physical, social, and cultural world around them. In this Keynote – based on cross-cultural research, laboratory studies, and Dr Gray’s own research at alternative educational settings in the United States – discover how children’s instincts to explore, play, and bond with others provide the natural foundation for education. Learn more about the conditions in which these educative instincts seem to operate best and how they can be practically applied in the preschool setting.