Too Young to STEAM?

STEAM Part 1

Back in 1974, Buckminster Fuller wrote in the introduction to my first book, Build Your Own Playground, the following:

I think that playgrounds should be renamed “research environments.” This is what the children are doing so vigorously. They are not playing. They are finding out how the universe works. This is spontaneous research which is inherently gratifying, often joyously gratifying. How wonderful to find out how to use gravity as an accelerator or a brake. Nobody is around to tell you or to give you the name gravity, but you learn quickly that the greater the drop, the more it hurts your legs. That is what Galileo’s work with falling bodies was all about. You want to understand that invisible power that is working around for you; you wish to check out your theory on a slide.

Children learn about tension. They have got to tear a great many things apart to find something that won’t tear, that they can spontaneously grab for to arrest the falling and anticipate leg shock or break. They don’t have to know the names tension, compression, gravity, or acceleration, but they have to get very familiar with such phenomena before a sound emanating from somebody’s mouth can develop a word meaning experience. City-born and -matured children have almost no access to operative research environments as have had the billions of humans in the millions of years of their occupancy on planet Earth’s pre-city eons. 

Playgrounds provide children with experience-fortified gratification of physical research. Thus, their intuitive assumptions of “can do” are proven; they are thereafter confident of their own capabilities for sensing and employing the principles operative in nature, such as gravity, flotation, wind resistance, tension, and compression. Teen-agers and adults then may successfully deploy into wilderness for such activities as mountain skiing, surfboarding, cross-country motorcycling, and flying kites. 

Of course, we all know that Bucky was WWWAAAY ahead of his time. What I especially love about Bucky’s statement was that it presented the vision of full-body exploration. Far too many STEM products are desktop and don’t account for the fact that little kid CAN’T sit still. They learn faster and better when they are totally immersed in playful learning. Many of the toys presenting themselves being STEM have a single “right” solution which, for me, is the antithesis of scientific inquiry. This is especially true when looking at toys for children seven years-of-age and younger.

Screen Shot 2019-05-27 at 10.39.40 AM

I just ran across an excellent white paper by the Toy Association, STEM/STEAM – Formula for Success. The paper does a good, if very superficial, job of identifying right and left-brain functions and clearly supports the proposition that a good STEM product needs to be both fun and intellectually challenging. What they don’t point out is that, for young children, the left cortex is in a very primitive state and is not ready for intellectual growth as such. I liked nearly everything they have to say, especially this point:

“OPEN-ENDED. This refers to a toy that encourages the child to find his or her own individual way to play. After the mandatory characteristics, this was the most predominant attribute mentioned for a good STEM/STEAM toy – the ability for a product to be used in multiple manners where there is no one right way to play. This includes toys that offer various pathways to solving a problem, building a structure, creating a design, or accomplishing a task.

I will recommend this paper to you if the object of your interest in STEM is for kids eight years and older. However, if you have, or are teaching, younger children stay tuned to this blog as we will be exploring what the neuroscience has to say about how the developing brain is preparing the young child to take on the rigors of STEM.

One Dimensional Play

blocks

The folks who have been creating children’s educational toys have been shortchanging us for decades. Kids will play with just about anything. That kids play with the materials in most early childhood programs is no evidence that these materials are as beneficial as possible. A great example of this is the ever-popular hollow blocks. These are excellent examples of loose-part play toys that have been around for decades and are in nearly every early childhood education center.

There is no question that kids will play with them, often for extended periods. But ask yourself, after the first few play sessions what more can they learn besides how the shapes fit together? I assert that block play devolves to social play in short order, not that this is a bad thing, but could we do something more?

Our recently departed and much-loved play guru, Bernie DeKoven, used the term “complexification” for the idea of maximizing playful learning by making the environment multi-dimensional … more stuff means more complex play and more learning.

floor blocks

Visit nearly every preschool, and you will find the environment laid out into functional spaces; the kitchen area, the reading nook, and the block play space. The materials in each of these areas are siloed and rarely mixed. Teachers are taught to program these spaces. School supply catalog merchandise their products along these same categories. And so it has been for decades. And let’s not even talk about the lack of travel between indoors and outdoors. This “traditional” ECE format seems set in stone. The result of all this stagnation is that designers of educational materials find themselves trapped into these narrow and shop-worn classifications.

What will happen when we begin to look at the physical plant of an ECE program as a system of interoperating elements? I’m not suggesting a rigid requirement that everything has to fit with everything else, but that the apparatus and space are thought of, and planned for, dynamic and fluid mobility. How are the boundaries between functions presented to allow for flow? How is the presentation of materials transformed? What changes need to happen to storage?

The good news is that there are many examples of precisely this thinking that creative teachers have pioneered. Puddle Jumpers Nature Preschool is an excellent example. The way that Teacher Tom organizes space is also worth checking out. The rapid rise of AnjiPlay and Regio Emilia centers shows that this approach is rapidly becoming a trend.

FB-Reggio-classroom-3

We need to think about how much more we can get out of our school equipment if we allow for the mixing of functions. As Bucky Fuller taught, one plus one doesn’t equal two. These synergistic combinations can be transformative.

For many teachers and administrators, taking this new path will take commitment and patience. The good news is that there are great exemplary programs and organizations like NAEYC that are there to help make the transition.

 

The Ideal Learning Environment

BH yard
An OK place to play but not an ideal learning environment

Most early childhood education centers do an adequate job of providing an outdoor play space. That said, these environments are not ideal learning environments. This is somewhat strange because teacher generally learning during their education process the basic principle of how children learn but then don’t fully put this knowledge into practice when developing their outdoor play space. If they did, what would that look like?

Until the ‘70s was the consensus of childhood researchers like Piaget was that children’s brains were “tabula rasa”, a blank slate. Ten years ago, Alison Gopnik and her colleagues Andrew Meltzoff and Patricia Kuhl published The Scientist in the CribMinds, Brains, and How Children Learn. The main thesis of the book is that children are born with very powerful brains and do a lot of thinking. They are like scientists who are constantly creating predictions about their world and how it works and refining those predictions based on experience. Her analogy was that they are like a computer with tremendous computational power and loaded with sophisticated programs but until a person sits down and enters information, they are not functional. Another way of saying this is that kids are born with complex templates and these are adapted and filled in as the child gains experience. For example, from the moment of birth children are listening for words and they learn the specific language that they are born into, they have a template for language which they fill with the local dialect.

Another point that is brought out in the book, which I don’t think has gotten enough attention, is that for the most part learning is promoted by two key components, action, and social engagement. Babies give rapped attention first to the parents, and as they mature, to other people they encounter. They are also moving almost constantly when they are awake. It is through motion in a social context that the child’s intrinsic templates get adapted to their environment, i.e., this active play is the optimal condition for learning.

In the decade following the publication of The Scientist in the Crib researchers have been able to actually peer inside children’s brains and can now verify that the book’s contentions are correct. They can see the parts of the brain that light up in response to specific stimuli. They have shown that for the first two years children are primarily learning how to operate their bodies. The term we often hear used for this process is sensory integration. The main player in this process is the cerebellum. The interesting finding has been that the cerebellum had been thought to be essentially a movement computer like the self-driving computer in a Tesla. It turns out that the cerebellum is constantly creating a model of the whole world of the child and anticipating what will happen next. It then adjusts this model based on the accuracy of those predictions. To do this it talks to the right cerebral cortex to assess how best to make adaptations, i.e. the right cortex is the diver in this analogy. So, far from just learning how to move, for the first seven years, the cerebellum and its partner the right cortex are the main areas of learning about everything in the child’s world including emotions.

Let’s make a list of what the current research has established the ideal learning environment for children from 2 to 7 years of age:

  • There are other players in the setting, preferably with a mix of ages
  • The space allows for lots of movement, especially large gross motor activities
  • Children in the space are able to experiment, test limits and to fail often
  • Children will have essentially unlimited ability to change the elements within the space
  • The elements in the space have more than one function, preferably they can be used in many ways
  • The optimum learning space will be primarily outdoors
  • The space promotes immersive and emergent learning that is indicated by very long play episodes

While still rare, there are schools that embody all seven of these criteria. For example, AnjiPlay schools in China, the increasingly popular “Forest” schools, and many Reggio Emilia schools.

 

anji yard2
The many AnjiPlay sites have ideal playspaces

It is fair to say that than most schools in the USA fail at providing the ideal learning environment. There are many reasons for this, the push for academics, the need to provide a “safe” environment, the lack of teacher training for operating in such a learning space, and parent expectations of what a “proper” school should look like and teach.

The fact is that for the majority of programs being able to have an ideal learning environment is hampered by the lack of well-designed equipment. Indeed Cheng Xueqin, the Director of the Office of Pre-Primary Education had to invent from scratch the apparatus they use in her program. Most other schools that meet these criteria have access to naturalistic spaces and hand-make whatever else they feel they need to support the children’s learning.

It is no wonder that few schools can implement an ideal learning environment. For example, one need only look at what outdoor equipment is currently available for early childhood educators to see that large motor apparatus is invariably fixed in place, has a single function and cannot be changed by the children.

In my next blog, I will explore ideas that can offer new options for creating the ideal learning environment.

In the meantime check out this great article by our friend Peter Grey – Children Educate Themselves

Dogs, Neuroscience and STEM Education

In my lifetime I have been the human for six wonderful dogs. I was just six years old when I got my first one. I wanted my pet to be the best, so I enrolled in an obedience class for Coalie, named for his coat color, as well as several of my subsequent companions. One of the most important things I learned in those classes was that the better-trained dogs required the fewest words. Indeed, if you attend sheepherding or agility trials, you will rarely hear a command spoken, and yet such animals display a large repertoire of learned skills. These days when I see someone verbally instructing their pet, I laugh, usually not out loud, because I know that dogs respond to gestures and body language and not so much to words.

As a play advocate, I’ve recently become aware of the breakthroughs happening in the neuroscience and developmental evolution. I’ve studied how intelligence progresses from fish to primates and have learned how the smarts of my dear Coalie are not that far off from humans. Indeed, for the first few years, kids and dogs are relatively closely matched. That means that their learning is primarily through gesture, body language, and movement.

The use of fMRI has given us the ability to see living brains in action and allowed a much more actuate view of learning. For example, it was a cannon of psychology that the role of the cerebellum was the center of motor control. While that is still mostly true, the cerebellum is far more complex and important. Take this fact for example. The cerebellum contains 69 billion neurons while the cerebral cortex, the area of the brain that we tend to think of as where all of our smarts resides, only contains 16 billion neurons.

It is also interesting to note that initially, the cerebellum communicates primarily with only the right half of the cerebral cortex. That’s the side that deals mostly with imagination, empathy, and intuition. The left half deals with facts, numbers, and letters are ignored during the early years. What do these findings tell us about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math education for young children?

The genius of Gary Larson captured this idea perfectly in this Far Side cartoon. Notice that we laugh at the truth of this when the subject is dogs, but the situation would be much the same if we were talking about children. In a very real way, trying to have kids learn STEM ideas verbally is a fool’s errand. Knowing this the developers of most STEM education focus on hands-on projects — all well and good. But wait, what does neuroscience say about the efficacy of that approach?

First, hands-on is good, but body-on is many times better. Early childhood learning progress best during full body engagement, i.e., play. For it is during play that the feel-good chemicals like dopamine and endorphin flood the brain and significantly increase the rate of neuron myelination which marks the structural changes in the brain that results in learning.

Second, both dogs and kids already know many of the basic principles of STEM. There are interesting studies that show that babies act surprised when they see something that violates fundamental physics. Or take the fact that if you load one glass with 5 M&M’s and another with eight, kids will invariably select the glass with the most candy showing that they understand the notion of quantity. So, what does this tell us about “teaching” STEM to young children?

To start with they are smarter and know more than we assume. Kids also “understand” intuitively and not intellectually. Maria Montessori understood this, and it is the basis of her educational system. Unfortunately, the teaching methods that embody her insights have become viewed by many as sacrosanct and held to dogmatically rather than being a wellspring of creativity.

The other issue with Montessori and much of STEM education is that there is a single known outcome to the materials presented to children. Whereas, what is far more critical is fostering curiosity, creativity, and experimentation. Kids are very quick to figure out that adults have provided a lesson to be learned and that real play is not on the agenda. Soon kids just look for the embedded lesson rather than being free to explore.

What dogs, kids and the new findings in science teach us is that learning is best when it is full-body, active, fun, and open-ended. Children at very young ages can learn the underlying STEM information best when it is presented in a form that integrates well with those areas of the brain that are in the process of development.

Here’s a taste of the science:

Why Young Kids Learn Through Movement

The Association Between Childhood Motor and Cognitive Development

From Movement to Thought: The Development of Executive Function

Optimizing Early Brain and Motor Development Through Movement

Better Late than Never

Build Your Own Playground!

My book finally got reviewed!

It only took 44 Years! I know I’ve been ahead of my time but that’s ridiculous. Thank you, Rita Watts, for your continued curation all things play and playground related.

Now I just need to find my copy and rediscover what I used to think. Amazing.

BTW – Bucky Fuller was kind enough to write the forward and he essentially equated play with what we would now call STEM. Another guy who was ahead of his times.

“There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things.”—Nicoló Machiavelli

CAAEYC Presentation

If you were able to join us at CAAEYC, it was wonderful to be with you. Your enthusiasm for my presentation was very supportive. I am happy to correspond at jgb.cdg@gmail.com. My professional website is cPLAYd.com and there are links to my history there. 2019Banner_CONF

Below is my presentation to CAAEYC on April 12, 2019.  It may not make much sense if you were not there and is being posted for those who did attend.

play patterns CAEYC 4-15 PDF

play patterns CAEYC 4-15 PPTX

Session Handout – Early Childhood Learning Patterns and Triggers Assessment

Suggested readings:

*Highly Recommended

*Free to Learn – Peter Grey

What’s Going On In There – Lise Eliot

*The Genesis of Animal Play – Gordon M. Burghart

*The Playful Brain – Sergio and Vivien Pellis

Embracing Rough and Tumble Play – Mike Huber

Play, How it Shapes the Brain – Stuart Brown

*Designing for Kids – Krystina Castella

The Gardener and the Carpender – Alison Gopnik

Becoming Brilliant – Roberta Michnick Golinkoff and Kathy Hirsh-Pasek

Play Based or Academic Preschools

Two main factors will turn the tide towards a greater percentage of preschools that are play-based rather than those who promote primarily academic teaching. The first of these is that increasingly children who attend play-based preschool have significantly better long-term success, both academically and personally than students of academically based preschools. These numbers can be seen in small studies of particular programs, such as Regio, and nationally as is the case with Scandinavian schools. As more longitudinal studies pour in parents will naturally choose for better outcomes for their children.

The second reason that play-based learning will become the dominant form is science. In recent years, and accelerating rapidly, more and more studies are showing that play is the best way to foster development. We now know so much more about who development proceeds, especially neurologically, and that science reinforces play-based preschools for a beneficial and self-reinforcing loop.

For me, the most significant breakthrough has been a new understanding of the cerebellum. Until recently the role of the cerebellum was thought to be motor control. While that is still a primary function, we now know that the cerebellum is a “complete” brain so to speak, with functions that are emotional and sensory. Indeed, the cerebellum contains more than four times the number of neurons as the cerebral cortex, which we have previously thought was the base of intelligence.cortex

The learning that takes place in the cerebellum is stimulated primiparity by gross motor activity like that found in play. Indeed, the cerebellum has a “menu” of activities it prefers such as sliding, spinning, swinging, climbing, jumping, running and wrestling. We have identified 20 of these brain building patterns.

While the cerebellum is actively learning all these skills, it has a playmate, the cerebral cortex, but not the whole cortex. The connection is to the right hemisphere.

The left brain’s functionality is one of language, numeracy, literacy, analysis and time. It is the logical, calculating, planning, busy-bee part of us that keeps us anchored in the pragmatic world, and in the past and future. The right brain, on the other hand, is responsible for empathy, intuition, imagination, and creativity. It is where we wonder, dream, connect and come alive. Through the right brain, we dwell in the space of no-time, in being absolutely present. While the left brain is more interested in outcomes or product, the right brain cares much more about the process—the journey is what matters, not the destination. – Vince Gowmon

The critical insight here is that the logical left cortex doesn’t mature until about seven years old whereas the cerebellum and has been playing footsie with the right cortex from birth and that fully matured at 3 to 4 years of age.

From an educational standpoint, this means that any attempts to teach numbers and letters to children younger than four will fail because there is no functional brain there to learn. From 4 to 7 years fact-based leaning can be gradually introduced.

No, that doesn’t mean that during these years you can sit kids down at a desk and make them study. What we have failed to factor when thinking about learning and teaching is that it is not all about brain wiring and creating mental connections. Learning, especially in the early years is also chemical. When connections between neurons are made, they are not hard-wired, rather they are facilitated by chemicals which pass between the neurons. What these chemicals do is contain the message that is moving being conveyed.

children-playing-together-1024x683-e1465488481261

From a learning standpoint, the most important of these chemicals are Endorphin, Dopamine, Serotonin, and Dopamine. These neurotransmitters are sometimes referred to as the “feel good” chemicals. The bottom line here is that playful learning feels good and is fun. For this beneficial pattern to set in, it must be self-directed. Adult-directed and controlled teaching is anathema to learning in the younger years and likely far into adulthood.

The preceding is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the revolution science is bringing to the understanding of child development. As the flood gates of research open ever wider, and as the children from play-based preschools demonstrate superior outcomes, academic preschools will become a rarity.

Humankind has been trying for a couple of hundred years, but in the end, you can’t fool mother nature.

 

 

 

The Solution for Kid’s Screen Time

Child_with_Apple_iPad (NXPowerLite Copy)

Perhaps you’ve followed the debate. Too much screen time rots kid’s brains. That’s why Steve Jobs and other tech leaders won’t let their kids use connected devices. On the other side, we hear that with proper supervision access to the internet and digital games improves learning. Or, this is the same debate we had about TV and that didn’t pan out to be a problem or did it?

This is a pointless debate. The plain fact is, when kids are using devices they are not playing. When they are not playing, they are not developing optimally.  It’s that simple.

We have allowed these seductive machines into our homes, and now we have to face the consequences and pay the piper.  We have permitted tech to become a convenient baby sitter. We feel inadequate to compete with the addictive qualities inherent social media and digital entertainment. The battles over limitations wear us down, and we make a rear-guard effort to distract the kids with scheduled activities.

Bringing Back Play

There is good news…and some bad news. The bad news? Both you and your kids have gotten out of the habit of play, and it will take some effort to develop new playful habits. The good news is that you have eons of evolution on your side. Play is fun, it is rewarding, and it can is found anywhere. More good news? There are just two basic changes you have to make. Here they are.

The most powerful way to have more play is more kids. There is nothing more interesting or compelling than playing with other children. There is more good news in that when you have friend’s kids at your house your friend can reciprocate giving you some kid-free time in trade. So, your number one tool is more social-life for your kids. Now comes the hard part.

Playful Places

Opening up to having more play around the house is the hard part because we tend to be out of the habit of play. And play consumes both resources and your time to monitor and set limits.

Most of us don’t have play-friendly spaces in our homes. Play is messy and often noisy. We know that when the play is over, there will be a lot of clean up even when the kids “help.” Creating spaces that support play takes planning and allowing the children’s needs take up a seeming disproportionate share of your home.

Now for some excellent news. There are excellent examples that will provide you with all the ideas and solutions you need to make the changes to a playful home and backyard. Where can you find these models? Your local early childhood education center embodies decades of experience in setting up a playful environment. Such centers have mastered providing just the right stimulus for play in a manner that requires the least amount of teacher input and effort. Of course, you don’t have to turn your house into a nursery school; all you need to do is adopt small scale versions of the best ideas.

Ring Leader

Your job is threefold. One is the planning and implementation of playful spaces inside and outside. Second is creating a network of friends with whom you can trade playdays. Finally, you will need to get the ball rolling by watching the way the children play and support their play with added resources and limit setting as required until the activity is self-sustaining.

Simple, right? Well yes, but a lot of work initially and with practice being a playful home becomes easier and easier. The real miracle is that the issue of screen time, and your concerns about that, will have vanished.

 

 

 

Teaching vs. Play-Learning Systems

Current trends in education and recent findings in developmental neuroscience are accelerating the move towards more child-directed learning through play. This movement will have a profound impact on teacher training, learning environment and support apparatus design. Why is this so?

Let’s take the simple example of children learning creative self-expression. Below are two images that depict the extremes.

crafts

Five-Idiotic-Things-Children-Are-Taught-in-Early-Education

puddle jumpers

Puddle Jumpers Nature Preschool

One can argue that the structured craft project is less work for the staff than the unstructured art on theleft because clean-up is so easy, but is learning about less work and a nice take home for the parents? As more and more ECE programs move towards kid powered play the way they design their spaces, what materials the supply and how those materials are presented will change radically.

Here’s another comparison.

blockplayliteracy community

Community Playthings

floor blocks

Floor blocks are a perennial hit with kids who typically build villages and castles with them, and that’s about it. If you introduce some small cars, then they add roads and gas stations, etc. Adding small people makes for community-scale play.

In most centers, they are put away at the end of every day. What if the children’s creations were able to be left in place for a whole week? How would this continuity change the play, the use of language, the social connections between the children? What additional materials might be introduced? Could the children make maps and tell the story of this town they have constructed?

In most ECE centers the block play area is the most well developed. Many teachers have discovered that adding “accessory” elements makes for more intense and longer duration play episodes and becomes a hotbed of social/emotional development. When brought up to a high level of complexity, these learning areas become true learning systems. Increasingly teachers are extending this sort of complex systems concept to other areas of their centers.

While the physical space is transformed, and new materials introduced and presented in different ways, the most profound change is the way teaching is done. In such renewed centers teachers spend the bulk of their time observing and interjecting into the play to help sustain its growth. A few words, a small number of additional materials replaces workbook and practice sheets.

While many schools have discovered … discovery learning, the vast majority of ECE centers are still teacher directed and teacher controlled. This will change as more and more studies show the learning benefits of kid powered play.

Recent Reseach on Children and Climate Change

floodBelow are the best and most recent articles on the effects of trauma on children, especially those as a result of climate change.

The Developing Brain & Adverse Childhood Experiences

Thanks to an explosion in scientific research now possible with imaging technologies, such as fMRI and SPECT, experts can actually see how the brain develops. This helps explain why exposure to adverse childhood experiences can so deeply influence and change a child’s brain and thus their physical and emotional health and quality of life across their lifetime.

Today’s children will inherit a climate-changed planet. Can they handle it?

Children are already experiencing “eco-anxiety” — and psychiatrists don’t really know how to help them cope

Monitoring Children’s Mental Health After Disasters

  • A single disaster event is really part of a cascade of other events in a child’s life and results in cumulative impact and stress, even if the prior events are completely unrelated.
  • Stigma related to mental health is a still barrier, even in times of national crisis.
  • Between 30 and 40 percent of a direct survivor, the population is at risk for developing a new disorder that they did not have until the index event.
  • Traumatic grief is different from the experience of grief in other situations and requires different treatment.

Addressing challenges in children’s mental health in disaster-affected areas 

Natural disasters such as earthquakes, typhoons, floods, and volcanic eruptions frequently occur in the Republic of Philippines and mental health care for children affected by these natural disasters is a major public health concern. Aiming to train health professionals on children’s mental health, to conduct a situational analysis to identify the local needs and resources for children’s mental health.

Challenges Associated with Childhood Exposure to Severe Natural Disasters

Natural disasters cause widespread destruction, economic loss, and death, leaving children to cope with the devastating aftermath. The research literature has demonstrated that children are at risk postdisaster for negative mental health outcomes, such as posttraumatic stress disorder and depression. The purpose of this review is to highlight the challenges associated with childhood exposure to severe natural disasters and to summarize the current research on clinical interventions for children postdisaster.

Children’s Play Environment after a Disaster

The Great East Japan Earthquake of March 11, 2011, together with the subsequent tsunami and nuclear power station accident, damaged a wide area of land. Children who experienced these terrible disasters and the post-disaster situation are still suffering in mental, physical and social ways. Children’s play is an activity that they undertake naturally and which can help them recover from such disasters. This paper addresses the role of play, adventure playgrounds and other play interventions, including play buses, for the health triangle, which addresses mental, physical and social issues of children after the disasters. These interventions were shown to be effective because children could express their stress.

How Trauma, Abuse and Neglect in Childhood Connect to Serious Diseases in Adults

It was powerful evidence of the connection that I had seen clinically but had never seen substantiated in the literature. After reading the ACE Study, I was able to answer the question of whether there was a medical connection between the stress of childhood abuse and neglect and the bodily changes and damage that could last a lifetime.

“Forbidden Games” – Post-Traumatic Child’s Play

The play of 12 psychically traumatized children and 1 traumatized adult was studied clinically by the author. Eleven characteristics of post-traumatic play were noted: compulsive repetitiveness, unconscious link to the traumatic event, literalness, failure to relieve anxiety, wide age range of players, varying lag time prior to its development, carrying power to involve non-traumatized children, contagion to new generations, danger, art, and talk as alternative modes of playing, and usefulness of tracing post-traumatic play to an earlier trauma. The possible reasons behind these characteristics are discussed as they may relate to the general psychodynamic theory of play.

How Climate Change Effects Children Worssy

“Children will bear the brunt of these disasters,” said Gautam Narasimhan, UNICEF senior adviser on climate change. “In the short term, the most vulnerable children are at risk of drowning and landslides, deadly diseases including cholera and malaria, malnutrition from reduced agricultural production, and psychological trauma – all of which are compounded when health centers and schools are impacted,” he said.

Climate Grief

“For a long time we were able to hold ourselves in a distance, listening to data and not being affected emotionally,” she said. “But it’s not just a science abstraction anymore. I’m increasingly seeing people who are in despair, and even panic. “

Understanding Trauma in Children

Children ought to be seen and heard. If an adult responds harshly, a child or youth is likely to internalize that to mean they are bad or the child may be reactive and respond in the exact same way. In addressing a traumatized child or youth, it is important to realize that although the trauma event or disaster might be over, change and trauma reminders could keep the events in mind.