In celebration of April as the Month of the Young Child, SUNY Fredonia is welcoming Dr. Sandra Waite-Stupiansky, an advocate for childhood playtime, will share a lecture titled, "PLAY...It's Food for the Brain," on Thursday, in 209 McEwen Hall. The 6:45 p.m. seminar focuses on the importance that childhood play has on the learning, physical development and social abilities of children as they grow and mature. The event is free and open to the public.
Dr. Waite-Stupiansky, a professor in the Department of Early Childhood and Special Education at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, shares the philosophy of this year's Month of the Young Child theme, "Early Years are Learning Years."
An educator, she is among experts who are concerned that play-time is disappearing from children's lives.
Ayden Matter, who attends the Campus & Community Childcare Center on the SUNY Fredonia campus, turns some steps into his own personal playground.
"We are living in a time when children's play has become endangered," said Dr. Mira Berkley, coordinator of the Early Childhood Education Program at SUNY Fredonia. "Many societal changes have impacted children's lives, including changes to early care and education programs and services. There have been changes in curriculum models, a decrease of recess, and increased time out of school in adult-directed activities or screen time such as television, computers, and electronic games."
Recess was common at elementary and middle schools, giving school-aged children play-time during the day. A child's eating and exercise habits are being molded during this impressionable time. Still, according to Dr. Waite-Stupianksy's latest article, "Recess - It's Indispensible," time allotted for recess has been drastically cut from 50 minutes to only 10-15 minutes per day. Accompanying these cuts is the increase of child obesity. In addition to being an authority on the subject, she is managing editor of Play, Policy & Practice Connections, the publication of the Interest Forum of the National Association for the Education of Young Children.
The Month of the Young Child was established in 1971 to promote awareness that early childhood years lay the foundation that enhance learning and success throughout adolescence and adulthood. It is supported by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), the world's largest early childhood education association.
Nationally, the yearly commemoration is celebrated as a week-long event, but local communities, such as Chautauqua County, dedicate a whole month to identifying services and programs that meet the needs of society's youngest members. The presentation by Dr. Waite-Stupiansky is co-sponsored by the College of Education at SUNY Fredonia and the Chautauqua County Association for the Education of Young Children.
To learn more about upcoming events during the Month of the Young Child, or about the Early Childhood Education Program at SUNY Fredonia, contact Dr. Berkley at firstname.lastname@example.org.