Posted by Damon O'Hanlon
Title: You Can't Say You Can't Play
Author: Vivian Gussin Paley
Vivian Gussin Paley is a kindergarten teacher with a simple problem, classroom exclusion. During activities led by a teacher, we would never allow one child to say to another, “You can’t play!” Yet during free time, Paley comes to realize that such harsh declarations are tolerated without much question. In her mind she begins to concoct a straightforward solution—a new rule posted on her classroom wall: “You can’t say you can’t play.” But can such a rule really work?
You Can’t Say You Can’t Play is divided into four sections. First, Paley identifies and describes the problem: At play time, certain kids tend to become ‘the bosses’. They make up the game and get to decide who does and doesn’t get to play. Day after day (and eventually year after year), the same kids tend to become the bosses, and the same kids end up being excluded.