Day 97 (of 186) Global School Play Day #gspd2018
Unstructured Play. Seems so easy yet somehow it’s increasingly rare.
The kids who used to ride their bikes across town and play in parks until the street lights go on are at risk for a phone call being made to the police or Ministry of Children. In BC the Ministry of Children and families has even come down on siblings riding a public bus to and from school https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2017/09/06/a-dad-in-bc-let-his-kids-ride-the-bus-alone-and-it-sparked-a-national-debate.html And don’t want kids playing out of sight of adult supervision -potentially not even on a front or backyard unless an adult is watching. Which makes me wonder about the kids who currently walk to and from schools and bus stops without an ever present adult….(and until you are 16 if in Ontario!). Often we say kids don’t act like kids used to- and he blame is often right back at us….who organize play dates instead of letting kids roam. Not wanting kids to play with each other until the parents meet. Using organized activities like club sports dance and martial arts – which can all help with mindful self-regulation but also help model and program kids that they will be directed with what to do.
So in a world that is safer than any time in history, more children have less choice than ever before (and to me one of many links to an increase in anxiety) other than my joke – kids can d anything they want after school….as long as it’s soccer or karate. This can help when it’s choosing an outfit for school – and can be good to limit how busy families get in evenings – and why I don’t do homework: we work hard at school – be a kid at home. Even if you’re a teenager. Those years go by way too fast.
I’ve collected a lot of writings and thinkings over the years – but especially after talking asynchronously with Scott Bedley @scotteach – who along with his brother has expanded into podcasting and promoting the concept of a Global School Play Day – a day of “permission” to let those who want to give “freedom” a try have some justification.
And as much as the day plan seems bare….it’s more like a duck on a pond – what you see looks relatively easy and “fun” but what you can’t see is the legs paddling like crazy – making sure everyone is safe and engaged – though I also encourage “boredom” too – nothing I get more jealous of than people saying they’re bored – the brain does great things during this time!
And “play” isn’t always easy. Experts (yes – there are experts at this) say that “deep play” doesn’t occur until after 45 minutes and only when/if the kids don’t know when the end of the session is. And the first 15 minutes are crazy.
Minutes 15-30 are often when creativity does its first kick in and more collaboration occurs.
Somewhere between 30 and 40 is when frustration happens and you as the adult will consider “winding things down” – but don’t. Because after 40-45 minutes the creativity gets its second wind and authentic play kicks in! And it is neat to see! My collection of articles and blogs on this: https://technolandy.wordpress.com/physical-literacy/
This learning is why I include a “free choice” (sometimes a limited free choice) in my gym blocks. Gets everyone moving – always red cheeks and water breaks and when I’ve had my checklist of learning outcomes I regularly see every skill being practiced by someone at some point. And it gets the brain thinking different too (which is why I always try to get a gym block first thing every morning!)
I have been inspired by the work and learning PD educational leaders like the Bedley Brothers. It’s been nice to have an “excuse” to look at how students use their “soft skills” aka the core competencies when they are not directed to. I’ve been able to see students use a variety of communication strategies while thinking critically and creatively. Without worksheets. Without artificial scenarios. And (1) social responsibility, (2) personal awareness & responsibility along with (3) personal awareness and responsibility also come out loud and clear when discussing “what’s fair” and who’s “cheating” and taking turns and seeing what students do when they don’t know what to do……(class rule: do something!)
I honestly expected some to hit a “boredom” moment so I could tease them and say how lucky they were…but we didn’t. And overall most of the students felt the day went by quite quickly. And some even said it was the best day at at school! And unanimously it was hoped that this Global School Play Day would not be the only one for the year – but I know I’m ready for a nap!!
Thank you to the @bedleybros for this brainchild and to everyone else who was willing to spend a day….an hour….a block letting students Play!