Summer is on the horizon. Soon, kids will be singing the words of Alice Cooper: “school’s out for summer.” But in some fundamental ways it’s not.

Play is one important way that kids learn and summer is about play. I would argue that kids learn more actively than ever now. Playing video games, engaging with a computer is active. In some fundamental ways, it’s far more active than engaging with a book, though many educators and parents are hesitant to admit this. Children with psychomotor development issues have been greatly aided by engaging with these technologies and the summer is a time for kids to take self-appointed deep-dives into learning new things with computers and tablets.

To me, learning is learning. Recently, I’ve been doing my own deep-dive into the excellent GarageBand, composing my first few songs as I learn to play guitar. If you’re inclined and not a professional music critic, you can find one of my songs here:

When I think about playing with and on GarageBand, I compare it with reading about playing guitar. This is much more active learning for me. It’s experimentation, it’s failure and success in real time, and it’s a lot of fun. Over the summer, with the help of teachers available at, I’m going to get deeper into music composition and learn to play some guitar riffs that I would have earlier believed to be beyond my abilities.

Summer is a great time to push the envelope of one’s ability, to learn new things under the guise of playing, and to find new things to love.

Don Adams – Head of School

May 17th, 2012 – Playing to Learn