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Park Slope School Ditches Homework For Play-Based Alternatives

(DNAINFO) Leslie Albrecht and Amy Zimmer | October 5, 2016 — With new research questioning the value of homework for very young children, a Park Slope elementary school is ditching traditional homework and replacing it with play-based learning.

Kids at P.S. 118 (the Maurice Sendak Community School) used to trudge home with stacks of worksheets, but under a new program called Exercise Your Brain, they’re doing their after-school learning through dancing, cooking, and other play-based activities.

Teachers created the program in response to concerns from both parents and educators over the amount of time and effort students spent on uninspiring worksheets.

“Learning should be self-initiated and not top down,” said Laura Willeford, a third grade teacher, who worked on the program’s design with  husband-and-wife team Alexis Hernandez (a first grade teacher) and Matt Weeks (a third grade teacher). “And they start realizing that the things they create are important.”

The program, launched last week, lets kids choose from a rotating menu of activitiesthey can do while at home playing and spending time with their parents.

This month’s offerings for third graders, for instance, include “Dance, Dance Revolution” (making up your own dance and incorporating something from class into it), “Chopped” (helping a parent measure ingredients for a recipe) or “Mad Scientist” (doing a science experiment and videotaping it to share with class).

Source: Park Slope School Ditches Homework For Play-Based Alternatives – Park Slope – DNAinfo New York