Welcome to the American Occupational Therapy Association's Checking the Pulse blog. Written by Stephanie Yamkovenko, AOTA's digital editor.
Here you will find news about occupational therapy, current health news, and more. I regularly blog about apps that clinicians can use in practice, autism issues, managing chronic conditions, wounded warriors, and more.
AOTA members receive the biweekly OT Practice Pulse e-newsletter where we share resources and news from AOTA and other sources that directly affect occupational therapy practice—curated just for members! Here on the Checking the Pulse blog, I will share even more relevant and interesting news, videos, blogs, and more.
I read hundreds of articles about health, wellness, and policy every week to find the most engaging and enlightening content for you. Blog readers can stay in the know, go beyond the news, and find out how the latest health news affect occupational therapy.
Found a story worth sharing? Send it to us today! Or send me a tweet @AOTAInc.
A new study finds that kindergarten has shifted since 1998 to be more about academics and less about play. Education Week shared infographics of the findings, which includes some of the following:
With play being a main occupation for children and a major source of learning, we rounded up several articles and resources about the importance of play that you can share.
An occupational therapist wrote an article for the Washington Post about how the decline of play in preschool has led to a rise in other issues.
The OT, Angela Hanscom, says in the article, “if children are not given enough natural movement and play experiences, they start their academic careers with a disadvantage. They are more likely to be clumsy, have difficulty paying attention, trouble controlling their emotions, utilize poor problem-solving methods, and demonstrate difficulties with social interactions.”
Last year, the New York Times ran an op-ed about how children need to learn through play quoting a source who says the trend toward more academics is a “profound misunderstanding of how children learn.”
We’ve had some posts recently on Checking the Pulse about the importance of play. This post about heavy work activities and chores being a solution to aggression is one of our most popular pins on Pinterest. This post about how we can’t expect kids to sit still all day is full of alternatives and solutions from occupational therapy practitioners.
AOTA’s tip sheet for parents describes why play is important and what OT practitioners can do to help children learn through play.
OT Amy Baez of Playapy wrote an ode to play for February, “the time of year for professing your true love.” She says the more that we become passionate about play advocacy, the more attention is brought to the issue.
Amy might be on to something! This article is about a school in New York City that recently stopped giving out homework so children could play more at home. Students in kindergarten through 5th grade at P.S. 116 no longer get traditional homework.
Have you seen examples of schools going back to focusing more on play? Have you helped advocate for more recess or less homework? Share about it in the comments.
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Thank you for posting this excellent article! I work in the public schools in New York City and I recently wrote an op-ed about the harmfulness of standardized tests. Test prep as pedagogy has replaced play-based learning from what I observe. I would love to connect with other OT's who are engaged in the Opt Out movement or who want to address toxic testing in their school.