I was a keynote for the Parenting Publications of America’s conference early this March.  I was sharing with them many of the messages I share with you when I post on this blog.  I picked up again on my theme about the Field Guide for Preserving Childhood.  I posed the question, “Does additional institutionalized education endanger the ages and stages of development and natural maturation?”  What is really at risk?  If we believe developmental growth is a precursor to academic achievement can we afford to delay natural, important stages of development?  What happens when we do so?  Might it have something to do with the fact that we are seeing so many university freshmen drop out of school due to an inability to manage time, navigate a new environment, exercise self discipline?  Does it contribute to the need for the corporate world to spend millions of training dollars on communication skills, conflict management, and leadership?  It begs once again the need for alternative expanded learning environments such as camp to complement formal educational instruction in partnership with schools and parents.  Child and youth development are a part of human development.  Play is a child’s art of learning. 

I encouraged the magazine editors to give parents permission to protect, nurture, and ensure children have developmental experiences that preserve their rite of passage - childhood.  We will all benefit.