Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS) recently signed a partnership agreement with The Original Playhouse (TOP). The partnership is sponsoring a program piloted at seven elementary schools to encourage students to take the pledge with the Campaign for Commercial-Free Childhood’s annual Screen-Free Week occurring April 30-May 6.
TOP is a children’s museum with six themed, educational rooms and an outdoor garden playground.
TOP will promote activities that are alternatives to watching television and playing electronic games by participating in Screen-Free Week. TOP will provide pledge cards, parent permission slips and activity logs for about 3,000 students. Additionally TOP will offer extended hours during the school week at reduced admission. Every student who successfully participates in Screen-Free Week will receive one free child’s pass for The Original Playhouse.
“Frederick County students will benefit immensely from having a screen-free week,” says FCPS Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Innovation Dr. George Seaton. “Studies show that children who watch less TV are more likely to succeed academically and be more physically fit. Our hope is that instead of playing video games or watching TV, they will read, think, create, play, be physically active, and spend more time with friends and family.”
“I feel like when there’s a screen in front of us, we’re watching someone else’s creativity, but when we put the device down, we’re inclined to create on our own,” adds former FCPS teacher and founder of The Original Playhouse Ellen Przybocki. “Whether an individual student or the entire family embraces a week of battery-free entertainment, all sorts of doors will be opened for new types of learning, talents, and entertainment!”