Frederick County Public Schools is partnering for the second year with The Original Playhouse Children’s Museum in New Market to support Screen-Free Week, April 29-May 5. The week encourages young people to be aware of the amount of time they spend on devices. It’s a great time for families to turn off their devices and enjoy screen-free activities.
The Original Playhouse owner Ellen Przybocki is a former FCPS teacher. She says she is excited for the week and hopeful for a high participation rate: “I was really surprised when my phone started giving me my daily usage rates. It seems the social engineers behind our screens have mastered getting our attention, and I’m trying my best to find balance and limit the time I spend on my phone. It’s more difficult than I expected. I’m a true believer in turning away from the phone and engaging with kids. Screen-Free Week is a great reminder for me to walk the walk.”
The Original Playhouse offers activities that go hand in hand with Screen-Free Week. It’s a battery-free space that encourages families to turn off the phones and turn on the creativity. Staying device-free is a year-round philosophy inside the Playhouse doors. Located on Main Street in New Market, the Playhouse will offer special evening hours for families committed to taking the Screen-Free Week Pledge.
In addition to the national Screen-Free Week, there’s a local Screen-FREE Week Frederick initiative, founded by child psychologist Dr. Alison Bomba and occupational therapist Kelly Beins. Local businesses will sponsor discounts or promotions to Screen-Free Pledge card holders. Frederick County public libraries will have pledge cards that residents can present to businesses listed on the Screen-FREE Week Frederick Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/screenfreeFrederick. The Original Playhouse is included.
The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood celebrates Screen-Free Week nationwide. The focus began as TV Turnoff Week in 1994, and as technology expanded, the founders changed the name to Screen-Free Week in 2010. They assert, on their website, that “A healthy childhood depends on a surprising thing: play! Through creative play, kids explore their physical world, build their curiosity, and expand their imaginations. But often, time spent on ad-supported screens displaces the kind of creative play kids need to thrive.”