So, did you know that today is Global School Play Day? I didn’t either until about a week ago. Other teachers in my building approached our administrators about the day and it was decided that our school was going to participate (you can see more information here.) I wrote it down on my calendar and kept going knowing that I had to process what this would mean for my classroom for the day.
After a little reading on their web page, I learned the basic idea of the day is to provide children with the opportunity to have screen-free, unstructured play. In today’s society children don’t have as much opportunity to participate in child led, unstructured play. Something so simple, but so important to a child’s development.
With not much time to reflect on how this would look across the school, I concentrated on how to best implement it in my classroom and went to work.
And you want to know something? It was an amazing day!
Wait a minute? Why doesn’t this happen everyday? Well that’s simple, right? We can’t come into school everyday and just play! That’s ridiculous! But is it?
There was a lot of learning going on. Maybe not content area learning in all cases, but important life skills like problem solving, social interactions, following rules of games, turn taking, sharing,...and the list goes on. Is there a way for teachers to harness the spirit of the day and apply it to “regular” days of school? Is it possible that the excitement and energy that we felt throughout the building today could be felt more often? Can we make it so students pop up out of bed and tell their parents “We’re going to learn about telling time today!” like my son jumped out of bed this morning and said “We’re going to play all day today!” I think there is.
I found today rejuvenating as a teacher and saw evidence of similar feelings in the faces of other teachers and students in the building. I looked at my classroom from a different perspective and saw possibilities that had never occurred to me when I was looking through my detail oriented tunnel vision. We have a lot of things that we need to get done in a school year, I get it. We can’t have child led, unstructured play all day, every day at school. But I wonder what would happen if we added it to our days and weeks. I wonder what would happen if, as teachers, we move a little further outside our comfort zones to meet our students where they fit more naturally as busy, curious, active children.
If today is any indication, we all might enjoy school a little more, our students will be more engaged and invested in their learning, and we’ll be so tuckered out that we’ll sleep sounder at night.
How can you incorporate the spirit of Global School Play Day into your classroom? I know that is a question I will be asking myself regularly from now on.
My Teacher Hat
I am a teacher in a preschool special education classroom. My classroom serves students ages 2-5 years old.