Day 136 (of 184) unstructured play as part of physical literacy
I’ve been challenging myself around ‘free play’ this year. It started with me encouraging ‘free play time’ to a primary teacher and then deciding to model similar behaviour. So now every now and then we take a ‘break’ in PE and have ‘unstructured play’. The idea for unstructured okay came from an article that referenced a value to “deep play” something that takes 45 minutes to achieve without an awareness of a ‘set transition time’ (ie bell).
What I have found interesting I step fold: a connection to creativity and a connection to self regulation.
Creativity: from fort building on a grand scale (imagine blending high jump crash mats with exercise mats and gym benches…. But also inventive games (modified 4 square for three learners) and using tools for purposes not necessarily what they were designed for – while still being aware of safety for themselves and those around them. Or at least safety-ish. Playing & building – both activities that are connected to enabling creativity!
Self regulation: I tweeted out a picture of students using exercise mats as ‘compression tools’ allowing the weight to just be on them. An activity that is encouraged with self-regulation and anxiety (though when I say that to my son I get eye rolls and extra resistance….). Other students are rolling around. Many are hitting balls. A social group is throwing a frisbee. With a number of students away sick, I can also see a couple who probably coulda stayed home sitting on the bench for some extra breaks. It’s neat to see the students put the SELF into self-regulation as they get themselves ready for what the rest of the day and the upcoming weekend brings them.
We have found the morning PE to be a great advantage to our grade 4/5s – and can tell when/if it gets missed (cultural performance, assembly, etc) and best of all the students have reflected how it ‘wakes them up’ and ‘helps them focus’ and ‘get ready for work’. This reflection is helping them better identify when they need a movement/action break either on their own, as a group or as a whole class.
My reflection to my youth is that in my hometown, most of us walked to school so we got that morning movement; being in a school where most get bussed from up & down the trans canada highway, the morning recess time isn’t quite enough…..yet I might need to rethink how our entire learning community starts it’s day….morning movement…..hmmmmm…..all helping to build on our school goal about physical literacy and how it enhances learning.