“Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.” --Fred Rogers
Play is fundamental to the human experience. The Convention on the Rights of the Child, ratified by 190 nations, recognizes play as a basic right for children.
Play is a crucial component of education and development, enhancing a child's social, physical and emotional health along with academic achievement and abilities.
Illinois has no requirement for time devoted to play during elementary school, including no requirement for outdoor recess.
Illinois Families for Public Schools is currently working to pass SB654, the Right to Play Every Day bill. This bill after its amendment would require public schools to provide a 30 minutes of daily play time for all students in kindergarten through 5th grade. You can download a fact sheet about the bill here. (And you can read about why 60 minutes of play in full school day makes sense here.)
We are thrilled to have the support for this bill from Access Living, Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood, Chicago Teachers Union, Community Organizing and Family Issues (COFI), Defending the Early Years, Illinois Association for the Education of Young Children, Illinois Federation of Teachers, Illinois Optometric Association, Legal Council for Health Justice, National Association of Social Workers - IL Chapter, Northern Illinois Nature Preschool Association, Northside Action for Justice, Parents 4 Teachers, POWER-PAC IL, Raise Your Hand, Sierra Club - IL Chapter.
★ LEGISLATIVE UPDATE August 2021 ★
SB 654 passed in both chambers in May and was signed into law by Governor Pritzker in August!
Thank you to all the parents, teachers and other advocates around the state (and beyond!) that helped us pass this law! To help with further policy and legislative advocacy for play in IL public schools, please sign up below.
Help us pass this bill
- Sign up below to get action alerts and to connect with others in your district!
- Contact your IL state representative and ask them to sign on as a sponsor of SB654.
Resources: why we need play in school
- Let the Children Play: How More Play Will Save Our Schools and Help Children Thrive. Sahlberg and Doyle. 2019
- Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life Gray. 2013
- Power of Play: How Spontaneous, Imaginative Activities Lead to Happier, Healthier Children. Elkind. 2007
- A Child's Work: The Importance of Fantasy Play. Paley. 2004
- "A proposal for what post-coronavirus schools should do (instead of what they used to do)." Sahlberg and Doyle. Washington Post. April 2020
- "Kids Need Play and Recess. Their Mental Health May Depend on It." Hynes. Ed Week. Aug. 2018
- "From Playing to Play Advocacy: An Interview with Olga S. Jarrett " Journal of Play. Winter 2019
- "A Research-based Case for Recess." Position paper from the US Play Coalition, American Association for the Child’s Right to Play (IPA/USA) and the Alliance for Childhood. 2019.
- FreshEd Podcast: Let the Children Play (Pasi Sahlberg and William Doyle) Dec 2 2019
- WBAI's Talk Out of School: "Whole Child Education and the importance of play" Feb 5 2020
- KQED Mindshift: "Childhood As ‘Resume Building’: Why Play Needs A Comeback" Sept 3 2019