Educators and parents today have bought into the myth that “more equals more.” If our children spend more time in school, have longer academic days, more homework, and less time for “fluff,” like music and art, our test scores will go up, right? Not if the “more” they are experiencing does not involve MORE BALANCE between academics and the arts, academics and physical activity, academics and nature, academics and learning stress-relief skills that they will take with them for the rest of their lives. It is never too early – or too late – to start!
In fact, our overall academic achievement as a country is at an all-time low. And it is not a coincidence, that this low has followed years of dwindling support for the arts and other creative endeavors in schools. I’m not against having longer school days, but I do care deeply about what we are doing with that time. A teacher in Danville, VA recently told me that 85% of her students live with chronic stress and/or trauma. They are living through their parents’ divorce, have a chronic illness, or live in a dangerous neighborhood. Our children have stressful lives that leave them feeling unsafe in their own skin. They have elevated levels of anxiety and discomfort inside their bodies that they don’t know how to control. Their anxiety does NOT just come from life outside of school. It comes from a system that is requiring too much, too soon, too fast. There is no longer time to “marinade” in the mastery of a skill or knowledge set, or to balance out the academics with more physical activity and the arts, we have to move on now! To the next thing that’s going to be on the test. In the film Finding Nemo, Dorie tells us to “just keep swimming, swimming, swimming…” Well, I’m here to tell you, our kids aren’t swimming. They’re drowning. Please find the film “The Race to Nowhere” by first going to www.racetonowhere.com and learn more about what I’m talking about and what we can do to stop the madness! My books and resources are also full of the antidote @ www.DrMelrose.com