The other day I read a text written by Marta Prada from Pequefelicidad on her Instagram account.
Her words got to me, because it reminded me of something I experienced first-hand when looking for a nursery for Oliver in Marbella (three years ago): almost all the nurseries I found, even the ones that I liked better, had and used TV as a nanny.
When I told principals and educators that it wasn’t right, their answers were ridiculous.
Here’s a list of their excuses and my answers:
“We don’t play videos, it’s only for songs” -> NO! You have mp3 for that or your own voice.
“It’s just to relax” -> NO! If we want a child to relax, we read a book, we lay down with our eyes closed, we sit in silence holding hands. TV doesn’t relax the brain, it agitates it.
“It’s just to allow the teacher to put the food on the table” -> NO! Have the chef, the caterer, (the teacher WITH the kids!) put the food on the table.
“It’s because some children don’t eat without TV” -> NO! If they are hungry, they’ll eat. If not, let them choose, offer them food at another time or make snacks available for them to eat when they’re actually hungry.
“I hear you, I also don’t let my own children watch TV in my house” -> NO, NO and NO! So why do you do it in your SCHOOL? To MY children?
Dear owners, directors and educators of schools and kindergartens, we parents sacrifice and go through a lot of trouble to find other forms of entertainment other than TV and screens: sometimes we’d love to sit our children in front of a TV and play an afternoon-long movie, so we can work or even just rest.
And yes, I’ll be honest, sometimes we do it too, we sit them in front of the TV. But we don’t have a choice, we’re done, we need a moment of silence, we have reached our personal limit: the alternative would be an afternoon of screaming and consequent crying, which is something that will stay in our hearts, and in the hearts of our children.
What is YOUR reason?
You have ALL the choices: qualified teachers and caregivers, endless activities, toys and resources, professional and prepared environments… is sitting our children in front of the TV really the best your staff can do?
And maybe it’s also our fault, of us parents, for not condemning it and forcing you to change, but do you really want to tell me that using TV as a babysitter is the best you can do in your school?
I don’t buy it.
And if it is so, thanks, but no thanks: I’ll change school, because I’ve learned to fight for the change I want to bring in the world.
NO TV AT SCHOOL
Dozens of studies show that the more exposure to screens the more the child’s development is impaired at different levels.
During the first 6 years of life the human being has an absorbent mind. This means that everything he LIVES gets integrated into his personality for the rest of his life. The basic structure of our brain and personality is formed in these early years.
In front of the screen, the child receives a dynamic reality per minute that hits him with hundreds of planes, angles, movements, drawings, several scenarios of realities that don’t exist, colors, sounds… It’s like putting the brain in the spin program of the washing machine.
When you turn off the TV many children still have the effects of the spin program, and are more nervous, agitated, lack concentration, they’re even more aggressive… Not all children show the same harmful effects, but it is equally harmful to everyone.
This is why screens are NOT a good resource at school.
Rainy days? Move the tables with the children—which will also help channel the energy in an intelligent way—and play games. Go to the gym.
Songs? Sing with the children, give them musical instruments. Tell a story using puppets.
Jacket time? Show them how to wait, use a circle, change the position of the clothes rack…
Children don’t have fun in front of the screen, they enter a state of self-absorption.
Children don’t need screens to eat, they need to taste food, chew, feel that they are full; they need limits, they need grace and courtesy, they need someone who gets their attention…
Children need to be excited about learning, and that’s what experience does. They need to live, that’s how they learn to talk, to walk, to eat… by practicing.
More chances for experience, for manipulation, for movement, more listening to children, more inspiring them… NO screens.
Pedagogical videos? They can be a once-in-a-while resource from the age of 6, just another support, to show, for example, a real volcano erupting or something from the real world that we want our children to experience.
NO TV at school