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Why the Winner Is Play


Diana Kander makes the point that since the 1980s our country has seen an explosion in programs that teach people how to innovate. Yet during the same period, the overall number of start-ups decreased and the number of business failures increased.

She asserts that the educational experience itself is to blame. Consider the Marshmallow Design Challenge. MBA teams make assumptions, devise plans, and confidentially move forward. Yet the plans fail. How often does this happen? Consistently. What does this say about the way the students are being trained?

Innovation requires more than a plan. Experimenting and testing determine what works and what doesn’t. Once a workable solution is found, collaboration refines the product and often expands its usefulness, as we learned from the inventor of MUTT.

Albert Einstein believed “play is the highest form of research.” Play is essential. Children learn when playing. When schools eliminate play, they’re ignoring sound research demonstrating how children learn best. And they’re denying children opportunities for learning. Such an approach to teaching children is dead wrong.

Play is essential to learning. As the Marshmallow Design Challenge demonstrates, play is a key component of creative thinking and problem solving. Yet, Valerie Strauss reports on how schools are Robbing Kindergartners of Play in the Name of Reform in her column “The Answer Sheet” in The Washington Post. Such a theft is a crime against our children and our future. Finding solutions to complex problems requires creative thinkers, problem solvers who collaborate to find multiple solutions.

 PlayopolisToys – for the diverse needs of the citizens of play