KING OF PRUSSIA, Pa., Sept. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- In 1981, 40% of children's time was spent in play. By 1997, that number had shrunk to only 25%(1). In the last two decades, kids have lost eight hours of free play per week and 30,000 schools across the U.S. have eliminated recess to make time for more academic study(2) – despite scientific findings that link recess to better concentration and more effective learning.
This October, Goddard Systems, named the #1 childcare franchise company for the ninth year in a row by Entrepreneur magazine, is taking a stand, nationally and locally, for the power of play in learning.
Goddard Systems, franchisor of The Goddard School, has been chosen as the exclusive preschool sponsor of Play for Tomorrow's Ultimate Block Party: The Arts and Sciences of Play, a powerful new global movement designed to recognize and celebrate the power of play for learning. This first-of-its-kind event is taking place Sunday, October 3, in the Naumburg Bandshell area of New York City's Central Park and will feature an amazing day of play for families and children, designed to bring playful learning back to the forefront.
But Goddard's involvement in promoting the power of play goes well beyond the New York event. On October 1, the Friday before the Ultimate Block Party takes place, Goddard will preview Mini Block Parties nationwide in Schools across the country.
"As early childhood educators, we know that play is crucial to a child's development," says Sue Adair, Director of Education and Quality Assurance for Goddard Systems, Inc. "We want all families to understand that play matters. The Mini Block Parties and the Ultimate Block Party are inspiring events that will showcase how play is essential to the next generation's academic, physical, social and emotional health. How children play today helps form the adults they become tomorrow."
"Goddard is recognized nationally for our learning-through-play philosophy and our play-based FLEX curriculum, which focuses on the value of guided play. For that reason, we feel it's important for us to take a leadership role in spreading the word through these Block Party events."
Mini Block Parties & Synchronized Simon Says, Oct. 1
Goddard will give families a preview of the New York event – and make the playful learning experience available to parents and children across the nation – on Friday, October 1, when its Schools kick off the play-focused weekend with grassroots Mini Block Parties.
Open to the public, the Mini Block Parties will enable families to participate in a number of hands-on, fun-filled activities that demonstrate the power of play for helping children learn the skills they need for life. Schools will either host a broad variety of playful learning activities, such as reading, obstacle courses, oversize games, "dress up" and art projects, and/or focus on a specially designed Simon Says game, during which educators will lead children in movements that teach important lessons. This unique synchronized event, which clearly illustrates the power of play in learning, will take place at 10:00 a.m. (local time), in schools across the country.
To make the event even more enjoyable, Goddard has commissioned an original song, The Goddard School Play Along Song, which the children will sing to culminate the Simon Says activities.
Consumers may download the song for free, for their own children to sing and enjoy, at http://www.goddardschool.com/BlockParty/. Goddard is also offering a free downloadable "playful learning" guide for parents on this Web page.
Ultimate Block Party, Oct. 3
At the national Ultimate Block Party event in New York City, the first "play date" in a national education movement, Goddard Systems will host a special activity area called the Let's Play Cafe. Children will enjoy manipulating play-dough, a pretend farmer's market and a series of other engaging pretend restaurant activities, where they will learn counting, nutrition, sorting and other important lessons through play.
"It is imperative to move beyond simply academic learning and 'teaching to the test' and support the development of the special aptitudes necessary for raising out-of-the-box creative thinkers, who we will rely on to keep the nation competitive," said Roberta Golinkoff, Professor, University of Delaware College of Education and Human Development. "Of course we must continue to teach the '3Rs,' reading, writing and arithmetic, but research tells us that children learn these best when they are presented in a playful and engaging manner. And these as well as so many other skills needed for success develop through play."
"The workforce of 2040 is in our preschools today and we must ensure that, as a nation, we are well equipped to thrive in our global economy," said Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, Ph.D., Co-Founder of Play for Tomorrow and Professor of Psychology at Temple University in Philadelphia. "We are excited to announce our first annual Ultimate Block Party and to show families, educators, business innovators and politicians that playing is indeed learning."
About Goddard Systems, Inc. www.goddardschool.com
Recently named #1 Childcare Franchise in the United States, by Entrepreneur magazine, for the ninth consecutive year (January 2010) and one of the Top 200 Franchise Systems (in worldwide sales), by Franchise Times, for the third consecutive year (October 2009); Goddard Systems, Inc. (GSI) is expanding The Goddard School® network throughout the United States. Headquartered in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, GSI currently licenses 360+ franchised schools with more than 43,000 students in 34 states. With a successful system in place and dedicated franchisees, GSI is the acknowledged leader in franchised childcare and a premier childcare provider in the United States.
About Play for Tomorrow
In 2009, a small group of educators, business leaders, authors and researchers formed Play for Tomorrow to champion the importance of play in the lives of children. Conceived as a multi-tiered social movement, the groundbreaking initiative aims to ensure that all children are provided with the competitive skills necessary to succeed in the 21st Century global economy as well as build a public dialog to underscore the value of play in fostering lifelong achievement and social, emotional and physical well being.
Play for Tomorrow is committed to working towards affecting policy and education delivery and overcoming the disconnect between what we know about learning and how we are teaching. The organization's mission is to change attitudes, beliefs and practices about playful learning among families, educators, child-care providers, pediatricians and policymakers.
(1) Chua-Eoan, 1999
(2) Elkind, 2009
SOURCE Goddard Systems, Inc.