The Perils of Nostalgia

  1. Updates

Jill Vialet

A friend of mine made the observation the other day that almost all the criticisms of our approach begin with some version of “When I was young…” I think she’s right.  People fondly remember play and recess  – the halcyon days of youth, unencumbered by pressures and constraints of adulthood.   I’m not knocking nostalgia wholesale, but our memories don’t tend to be all that accurate, reflecting specific incidents more often than the general state of things, as columnist Steve Duin so ably points out in his column on recess and Playworks in the Portland Oregonian. 

But perhaps more importantly, times have indeed changed.  It’s funny how we are quick to acknowledge the huge global changes that have occurred in the last twenty years when we are discussing social media or economic globalization, but when it comes to things related to childhood – play, education – it is almost assumed that nothing has changed at all.  It could be argued that this resistance to acknowledging change presents one of the single greatest obstacles we have in building systems that best serve kids.
Some changes require an uncomfortable and extended focus on how things actually are, right now. These frequent references to the way things once were only serve to distract us from making the changes that need to be made. In this case, nostalgia is a distraction.  Play has changed.  Recess has changed.  Coaches have changed. And kids are kids.  We owe them our unwavering focus on the very real problems of today so that we can provide them with the very real solutions so desperately needed.

More Updates

July 17, 2020

Prioritize a trauma-sensitive approach for the 2020-21 school year ›

Playworks believes in a trauma-sensitive approach Educators should focus on providing a trauma-sensitive approach to the reopening of school. Students are all having different experiences right now. For some students, the shutdown of schools due to COVID has provided them with a welcome reprieve from toxic situations or stressors. For others, it has created an…

July 16, 2020

Safe Return to Play & Recess Guidelines ›

Playworks is helping schools continue to reimagine recess. For the past 24 years, Playworks has partnered with elementary schools to help kids stay active and build valuable social-emotional skills through play. As schools prepare re-opening plans, we want to help provide resources for implementing both in-school and virtual play or recess experiences. We developed Recess…

July 8, 2020

Play at Home: Go for a Walk Games ›

Explore your neighborhood in a new way. Summer trips may be closer to home this year, or might just include a lot of exploring your neighborhood. Simply taking a walk is not only great exercise but also a fun way to discover the little details that we all may overlook in the hustle and bustle…