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What is the Big Deal About Blocks?

“What is the big deal about blocks?” Melitsa Aliva asked me this question earlier this week. We were recording a podcast for her show, Raising Playful Tots ,  based in the UK.  Blocks  have been a longtime favorite of mine, and I have been advocating even more for block play as the pushy digital world [...]

Real versus virtual…kayaks, cows and worms

The other day my family and I were lucky enough to spend time swimming in a lovely pond. Our friends have a small kayak that was the perfect size for my seven year old sons to try out. It was magnificent – watching as they each took a turn paddling about the pond. After just [...]

Save Our Schools – A Great Beginning



My head is still spinning. On Sunday evening I returned from Washington, DC and the Save Our Schools Rally. More than just a rally, it was four days of connecting with other educators, parents, students and activists who are ready to take a giant step towards reclaiming the [...]

Inspired by Teachers

Wow! There is busy . . . and then there is BUSY! This has been a BUSY few weeks. Wonderful, though. Beginning with the powerful Rally to Save Public Education in Cambridge, MA (see previous post); continuing with a wonderful visit to my former school, Mission Hill School in Roxbury, MA;  then a quick [...]

Fun for All Ages

“Fun for all ages” is a wonderful concept. When thinking about imaginative play, and life in general, you know you have a hit when a wide range of ages can be equally engaged. Last week, our family held the second annual “Cousin’s Camp” for our upcoming generation. We had 15 campers ranging in age from [...]

Defending dirt and Playing for Keeps

The other day my kids were playing in the mud with their cousins. We were replanting some lilac shoots from a very special family bush. While I was thinking about the significance of this 1oo+ year-old family heirloom, the kids were busy stomping in the mud and muck. I didn’t get upset with them – [...]

Why Empowered by Play…

Backing up a bit, here are a few thoughts about why I titled my blog “Empowered by Play”. If you read my piece Six, Going on Sixteen in Rethinking Schools, then you probably have a good idea. A few years ago, while teaching 5, 6 and 7-year-olds, I was caught off-guard by the needs of [...]

Thanks, Debbie! In honor of Deborah W. Meier – defender of play

In the early years of No Child Left Behind I worked with Deborah Meier at the Mission Hill School in Roxbury, MA. Debbie was the founder and principal. I was a teacher – but a student as well. Deb is good at starting schools that are interesting places for students and for teachers. [...]

Family Game Night…unplugged

When I was a little girl our family used to gather in the playroom on Friday nights for our much-loved BINGO night. I remember taking turns being the caller and learning the BINGO lingo (did you know that “in waiting” means you are just one space away from BINGO?) and lots of laughing. It [...]