We attended a seminar by Dr. Denise Clark Pope at The Chapin School. Dr. Pope is a senior lecturer at Stanford Graduate School of Education. For the past 18 years, she has specialized in student engagement, curriculum studies, qualitative research methods, and service learning.
Dr. Pope started off by sharing how our society has become too focused on grades and performance, leaving little time for children to develop the necessary skills to become resilient, ethical, and motivated learners. To raise healthy and motivated children in the fast-paced world, Dr. Pope advocates protecting Play time, Downtime, Family time (PDF).
- Playtime: Preserve unstructured time during the week to just play and be social with friends.
- Downtime: Children (like adults!) need restorative time to reflect, “chill” and rejuvenate. This can include reading, moderate doses of screen time and music. Research shows that we are more productive when we have some time to relax.
- Family time: Spending time with the family is a protective measure for children, allowing them to feel safe and connected.
These are simple ways to reduce academic stress and to increase creativity and well-being. Her book “Overloaded and Underprepared: Strategies for Stronger Schools and Healthy, Successful Kids,” shares more on the framework and how to prepare children for challenges they will face in schools and in life.