Playtime Teaches Kids 'Executive Function'

Emphasis on developing 'executive function' helps control behavior
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 8, 2009 12:33 PM CDT
Playtime Teaches Kids 'Executive Function'
Jeremiah Rodgers, 4, identifies letters as part of the Between The Lions Preschool Literacy Project at Vision Academy in Brandon, Mississippi.   (PRNewsFoto/Mississippi Public Broadcasting)

Preschool teachers are adopting new techniques to control students’ behavior that focus on impulse control, the Wall Street Journal reports. Seeking to counter a growing trend in rowdiness among young students, progressive curricula involve structured daily playtime during which kids take an imaginary trip to a pretend destination. Each plays a role—barber, librarian, or baby, for example—and must stick to the chosen role for the whole 45-minute playtime.

By forcing kids to stick to the rules of even such a casual game, teachers instill groundwork for “executive function”—the ability to exert self-control and focus on a task. It's a throwback to role-playing games of generations past, one educator acknowledges: "What parent do you know who opens the door in the summer and lets children rove around the neighborhood?"
(More student stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.