By: Jacqueline Wishart & Michelle Smith, Grade 3.
As part of our current unit of inquiry, Grade 3 researched the habits of creative people.
Students found strong connections between play and our ability to be thinkers, communicators and risk-takers. We realised that through play we could express our thoughts and ideas, take risks, solve problems, collaborate and become more innovative thinkers.
These are all critical skills for 21st century learners to have.
When reflecting on how much time we actually spent in ‘unstructured’ play, we, (teachers included!), decided we needed to make more time for authentic, unstructured play.
“Children’s freedom to play and explore on their own, independent of direct adult guidance and direction, has declined greatly in recent decades. Free play and exploration are, historically, the means by which children learn to solve their own problems, control their own lives, develop their own interests, and become competent in pursuit of their own interests”
– Peter Gray, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology at Boston College.
In order to take action on our research, the Grade 3 students organised the ‘Day of Play’ on Tuesday, 6th June. This day was all about student agency; our students made the decisions while the teachers acted as facilitators.
Students created schedules, decided on the required play spaces and resources and formulated essential agreements to guide our day.
Many of our students have reflected on the ‘Day of Play’ as their favourite day of school ever!
Given the success of this day, we, as educators, need to reflect on how we can weave the benefits of play into our learning in the future.
As Albert Einstein once said, “Play is the highest form of research”.
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