Let’s Not Take a Recess from Focusing on Small Classes and Nearby Playgrounds for Every Child

On July 6, 2014, Mayor of Chicago opened another park in a Chicago neighborhood. This is part of a continued effort by Rahm Emmanuel to achieve the goal that” every child within the city of Chicago should be within a seven minute distance from a new park,” as he stated when accepting the Kaboom Humana award for his “Playful City USA Leadership Award for his substantial investments in play.”

“Play is critical to the physical, social, emotional, cognitive and creative development of children. However, a healthy balance of active play is falling victim to TV, video games, structured schedules, declining recess time, and a lack of access to safe play spaces”. Initiatives like those (building new parks) being implemented in Chicago are critical to ensuring that all kids get the childhood they deserve,” as stated in , http://kaboom.org/about_kaboom/press_room/chicago_mayor_rahm_emanuel_recognized_championing_play.

Efforts like this are noble and worthy from the Mayor’s office and should be applauded. Kids and especially American kids also deserve and are entitled to an education that ensures they grow up and have the opportunity to play and also learn to the best of their potential and make achievements that an education can provide for every child growing up in America.

In addition to playgrounds in parks children of Chicago and all other cities in America can benefit from good schools where caring educators can teach them and facilitate their learning. It will be great when it takes every child in Chicago only 7 minutes to walk to a park and play.

It will also be great if kids in Chicago walk to school safely and get educated in manageable small classes where teachers can focus on every child and try to teach them to develop as physical, cognitive, emotional and social beings in a nurturing environment.

Unlike politicians, who reach a number like “seven minutes for a child’s walking distance to the park”, educators don’t propose a magic number for the size of classes. Small classes of not more than 20 students definitely beat the large number of students in most classes held in public and charter schools in Chicago and most other schools in Illinois.

We look forward to the day when the focus is on creating or building enough schools where a reasonably manageable number of kids are taught by caring teachers.

About Dr. Mitra Fallahi

Associate Dean of the Lewis University College of Education Areas of expertise include assessment, multicultural education, comparative education, curriculum, teacher preparation

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