Today’s kids don’t know how to play, so schools are hiring “recess coaches” to show students how to socialize, writes David Elkind, emeritus professor of child development at Tufts University.
For children in past eras, participating in the culture of childhood was a socializing process. They learned to settle their own quarrels, to make and break their own rules, and to respect the rights of others. They learned that friends could be mean as well as kind, and that life was not always fair.
Now that most children no longer participate in this free-form experience — play dates arranged by parents are no substitute — their peer socialization has suffered. One tangible result of this lack of socialization is the increase in bullying, teasing and discrimination that we see in all too many of our schools.
Elkind blames the rise of TV and computer games for children’s inability to get along with others.
Do kids really need to a “coach” to teach them how to play with each other? Really?