Like many others have already done, we were going to write about Global School Play Day earlier this week ourselves. As you’ve probably read, or heard from your children, Global School Play Day took place on Wednesday, February 3 this year and schools in our district, and all over the world, celebrated in their own way what it means to play. But we got really busy around the day we usually post (Sunday), and then all these other posts and tweets started appearing, so we decided that we would just follow-up with some observations from our own classrooms, which is always the most fun to write about, because they’re about our own students.
Global School Play Day originated with two California teachers, Tim and Scott Bedley (@BedleyBros, #GSPD2016) last year. The brothers have taken play, in the purest sense of the word, and given it back to the children, a day where they can play freely, in an unstructured, creative way, without boundaries and pre-determined rules. Part of Global School Play Day is a “call for toys,” for blocks, Lego, dolls, puzzles, board games and craft supplies. It’s a focus on student-directed play, as opposed to teacher-led activities and lessons. It’s also a day away from screen time.
So when we decided at Ridgeview that our school was going to participate in Global School Play Day, Christy and I wondered, how will this day be different from any other day we have in the Kindergarten? We already play quite a bit throughout the day, mixed in with other teacher-directed activities such as Alphabet work, Social Studies and Art lessons. We have Free Play (Centre Time) in the mornings, when the children are free to choose their activities and move from centre to centre. We have a specific focus for our afternoon play, such as Constructions (different kinds of building materials) and Literacy Centres (all things alphabet: we’re playing with language and letters). We intentionally have a limited use of technology for our age group and when we do so, we try to use it creatively. Would we shape the day to make it seem even more play oriented than we already are? That would be a lot of playing.
In Kindergarten, we are all about play. Play, like self-regulation, is one of the cornerstones of our Kindergarten Program. But while play may be a very natural inclination, what children are built to do, it’s important to remember that play is also very hard work.
When our children are playing, they are learning and practising a multitude of skills:
- Exploring, inquiring, problem solving, investigating
- Cooperating, collaborating, planning
- Creating, imagining, designing
- Sharing, discussing, turn-taking, listening, negotiating
- Measuring, estimating, building, experimenting
- Patience, perseverance, resilience, grit
We’re positive this is not even half of what the children are doing. We just gave ourselves a moment to brainstorm some of the skills the children were learning. We’re exhausted just thinking about it.
And so were the children. After playing most of the day on Wednesday, more than a few children asked if they “could take break” or “have a rest.” From playing? Yes, they were tired from playing, because play is the work of a child. All that energy that is needed for sharing and negotiating for toys with your friends, coming up with new ideas for building elaborate structures in a collaborative model, the patience required to draw and colour a multitude of tiny hearts for pretty Valentine cards, the stamina needed for swinging on swings and sliding down the slide…well, after all that energy got used up, some of the children wanted to lie down in the meeting area. Some wanted to look at a book, or listen to a story at the listening centre. It actually ended up being a pretty quiet afternoon.
We certainly had fun on Global School Play Day, and the children enjoyed themselves. But when your little people come home tired, because they’ve been busy playing at school, let’s not forget…they have just worked a full day.
This Week in Our Room: February 1-4, 2016
On Thursday we had our first skating field trip and did we ever have FUN! First of all, we have to say thank you so very much to all the parents who came out to help with the skate lacing and helmet fitting. As you could see, we have a very short turnaround time from arriving at the arena, to getting on our equipment and then heading out to our lesson.
We were so delighted with our children and their positive attitude on and off the ice. They were so excited, yet as good as gold on the bus ride over. They stayed super calm and followed their teacher’s instructions very well, remembering to sit down in their seats and speak quietly to their neighbours so as not to distract our driver.
We worked on our February self-portraits this week. The children continue to improve in their directed drawing, use of details and colour. We always use our criteria of “Big, Bright and Beautiful” when working on drawings.
Big…means fill your space
Bright…means five colours of more
Beautiful…means to do your personal best
Upcoming Events and Reminders
We made our Valentine Card Holders with our Big Buddies and they are currently on display in our classroom. We sent home a pink notice this week with information about the giving of Valentine cards in our class. We also included a list of the class names for your division. If you are giving out cards, please bring them in next week. We will help your child put them in the correct bags. We will be having a quiet Valentine’s celebration in our classrooms on Friday.
If you’re in Mrs. Daudlin’s class, you know that February is birthday month in our class. Next week we are celebrating birthdays EVERY day with sweet treats…something to consider that as you packing snacks and lunches for the coming days.
Monday, February 8 is Family Day. Enjoy a wonderful long weekend spending time with your precious family. Every moment spent with our children is to be treasured, so take the opportunity to create lots special memories. It doesn’t really matter what we do; it’s about being together.