Screen Free Week has become a firm fixture in the school diary. It is a time when, for one week only, Heritage challenges families (parents as well as pupils) not to use screens during leisure time. Instead, we hope families will find and enjoy other forms of recreation together, whether organised or spontaneous. Examples might include new sports, crafts, board games, cooking, sharing a picnic, an expedition or simply a good book.
Mr Fletcher says ‘I hope Screen Free Week will encourage us all to reflect upon the screen habits of our households. Statistics tell us that screens (watching programmes, going online, using social media, playing video games, etc.) dominate our leisure time, consuming an average of 5-7 hours per day. This is displacing many other healthier activities, particularly reading. The lack of reading, especially as pupils enter the secondary school years, is having a significant effect upon the depth of knowledge and understanding our children are developing. Excessive screen use leads to impatience with ‘slower’ things. It damages our capacity for sustained attention, the type of focus which is, as Charlotte Mason says, ‘the hallmark of an educated person’.
We hope that many families have taken up the challenge and look forward to receiving their feedback – the highs and the lows, the surprises and the rewards.