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exit_strategy_kindergarten_1515235“TWENTY years ago, kids in preschool, kindergarten and even first and second grade spent much of their time playing: building with blocks, drawing or creating imaginary worlds, in their own heads or with classmates. But increasingly, these activities are being abandoned for the teacher-led, didactic instruction typically used in higher grades.”

“Nevertheless, many educators want to curtail play during school. ‘Play is often perceived as immature behavior that doesn’t achieve anything,’ says David Whitebread, a psychologist at Cambridge University who has studied the topic for decades. ‘But it’s essential to their development. They need to learn to persevere, to control attention, to control emotions. Kids learn these things through playing.’”

“Jay Giedd, a neuroscientist at the University of California, San Diego, ‘The trouble with over-structuring is that it discourages exploration,’ he says.” http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/17/opinion/sunday/let-the-kids-learn-through-play.html?_r=0

I posit that what is true for 4-5 year olds is as true for 17-18 year olds. As kindergarten is a transitional year from pre- school in whatever form it takes to formal school, so is the senior year in high school a transition to the more advanced learning of college and life. They too “need to learn to persevere, to control attention, to control emotions.” “Kids learn these things through playing.” The difference is in how we define playing. “The trouble with over-structuring is that it discourages exploration.”

Too bad high schools, more often than not, don’t let their students play meaningfully.

UnknownSo many students are overly stressed in college because they cant answer this question.How do college and life differ from high school? Colleges provide orientation materials to incoming students that will, in theory, help them successfully adjust to life in college. For example SMU tells incoming freshmen that the basic difference is that in college they choose responsibility as opposed to following the rules in high school.

Who learns actions by reading them or listening to someone read them to you?

HIGH SCHOOL                                                                   COLLEGE

* Your time is structured by others. * You manage your own time.
* You need permission to participate in extracurricular activities * You must decide whether to participate in co-curricular activities.
* You can count on parents and teachers to remind you of your responsibilities and to guide you in setting priorities. You must balance your responsibilities and set priorities. You will face moral and ethical decisions you have never faced before.
* Each day you proceed from one class directly to another, spending 6 hours each day–30 hours a week–in class. * You often have hours between classes. You spend only 12 to 16 hours each week in class
* Guiding principle: You will usually be told what to do and corrected if your behavior is out of line. * Guiding principle: You are expected to take responsibility for what you do and don’t do, as well as for the consequences of your decisions.
* Guiding principle: You will usually be told in class what you need to learn from assigned readings. * Guiding principle: It’s up to you to read and understand the assigned material; lectures and assignments proceed from the assumption that you’ve already done so.
* Guiding principle: High school is a teaching environment in which you acquire facts and skills. * Guiding principle: College is a learning environment in which you take responsibility for thinking through and applying what you have learned.
* Guiding principle: Mastery is usually seen as the ability to reproduce what you were taught in the form in which it was presented to you, or to solve the kinds of problems you were shown how to solve. * Guiding principle: Mastery is often seen as the ability to apply what you’ve learned to new situations or to solve new kinds of problems.



How many high school seniors can say they have learned, though experience, that they are ready and already capable of the college challenge? How many schools can truthfully say they prepare students?

I know which students and which schools can honestly say yes: Students who have done a WISE project and schools who offer it. It is that simple.


“For 42 years, WISE seniors of all ability levels have created individualized real-world experiences (WISE projects), exploring their passions outside the traditional classroom.  Over 40,000 WISE graduates at over 100 high schools have learned to collaborate and to work independently, developing organizational, research, writing, and presentation skills as they ignite a lifetime of personal growth.”

Says Nicole Sharpe, Woodlands class of 1988 and now Director of the Black Male Donor Collaborative administered by the Schott Foundation, “I believe WISE was one of the most in valuable experiences in my life,” said Nicole. “I believe that young people need to be taught to think independently, and WISE does that. WISE prepares them for life.”

During her WISE project, Nicole was involved with the Rainbow Coalition and the Jesse Jackson Presidential campaign. She ran weekly registration drives targeted at college students and canvased the communities for the campaign from Maine to Virginia. Over the entire project, she raised $10,000 through her fundraising efforts.”

Was she ready for college and life? You bet she was. Now she helps others.