Get Out of the Way and Let ‘Em Play!


Nancy Carlsson-Paige is professor emerita of early childhood education at Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Her most recent book , “Taking Back Childhood: A Proven Roadmap for Raising Confident, Creative, Compassionate Kids,” is written from an interesting perspective. Her background in early childhood education leaves her eminently qualified to write such a book, but her background raising at least one confident, creative, compassionate kid is undeniable. She is Matt Damon’s mom. (That’s Damon seated on his mom’s left engrossed in Beatrix Potter.)

I have a few thoughts on the subject. Meet your children’s physical needs for nutritious food, shelter, and healthcare. Provide them with a sense of safety and security. Freely give affection. Build their self-esteem so they feel worthy of respect. Give them an education appropriate to their ages and stages of development. Read to them each day. And let them play. Alone. With their siblings. With friends. With you. Play should permeate a young child’s day.

Carlsson-Paige recently wrote How to Raise a Grounded, Creative Child for the Opinion Page at She spoke at length about the importance of child-centered play during a child’s early years. She knows of what she speaks.

About Andrea

Teacher of small children. Writer of small books. Owner of small dog.
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2 Responses to Get Out of the Way and Let ‘Em Play!

  1. Caitlin says:

    Love love love!!! At the end of reading this, I thought, “and this is the person who is teaching my child? I am so lucky!” Thank you Andrea, for your energy and thoughtfulness. Thank you for all your hard work to make such a rich environment for our children to learn through playing, through interacting, through questioning and discovery. I could not be more thankful or more in awe of what you do for our kids!

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