Global Day of Play Teacher Reflections

Yesterday we celebrated in The Global Day of Play (GDoP) in the Primary Section of the school. As mentioned in our previous post and email, the purpose of this day is to promote play as an important way we as humans, all learn through play, particularly in the areas of well-being and social development.

At LIS we highly value the development of both academic and social skills, along with a range of other competencies that prepare students for success in adulthood. Research is indicating that children have increasingly fewer opportunities for self-regulated play. On the GDoP, we hope to promote play and provide and an opportunity for students to further develop self-regulation, an understanding of boundaries, opportunities for safe risk-taking, collaboration and creativity; as well as exploring new ways to interact with others in a playful setting.

Of course the students had a great day, but what did we learn? We asked our teachers to share some of their observations from the day and wanted share these with you. Please read on…

I observed two Year 2 students playing together in the music room. They collected a large variety of instruments (“Let’s get as many instruments as we can!” I heard them say.), and they started to make a band together. They organized their music very logically in that each instrument represented a country and that whenever one of the students hit the gong the students chose a different instrument to play. After they had recorded their song on one of the Ipads one of the students said “Let’s make a dance to accompany our music!!” and they did! It was great to see two students working in such harmony and creating without any prompting or feedback from a teacher. They were creating for the pure joy of creating. 

A transcript of an observed student discussion:

“Yea, you can play with us.”
“No problem. You can use my scooter.”
“Can I show you how to use it?”

When I was supervising the indoor play in Year 5, I was amazed by how students were making connections with their buddies from another class. So witnessing how well Year 5 students played with Year 1, made me think that when we give an opportunity like that to have a play day, students make their own choices to take care of others. That was a true inspiration to me and the evidence of how our students live the Learner Profile attributes.  It took some time for some students to find the way to socialize with others, which was a good learning experience for me to see which skills need to be developed.  

Many students from Years 1 and 2 explored the Upper Primary visual arts classroom. It was exciting and inspiring to see older students showing the younger students how to use art materials and teaching them new art skills. Many of the projects that students created were collaborative.

I observed a few Prep 4 students who rarely play together, collaborate to build a race track that one of the children bought into school. The children united under a common interest and communicated their ideas on how to accomplish the task. The children seemed to make use of the uninterrupted time as they worked on various aspects of the racetrack throughout the day.

Year 4 teachers noticed the ease and confidence with which students independently transitioned to different areas/games. Our students commented on how the best part of the day was when they played with their younger siblings and friends from other year levels in different spaces around the school.

In the library yesterday I observed 2 Year one boys reading together.  Neither has English as their home language OR each other’s language as their home language.  But they were cracking each other up reading the book together, enjoying the funny characters and making their own “story” happen.  It was so cool to see.  And not an adult around them.  They were there completely wrapped up in their story for 20 minutes.

In the ELC, the day did not look very different from our normal format. However, all of the children brought toys from home, which is not usual, and I noticed that there was not one incidence of arguing, snatching toys or mistreatment of the belongings of others. The children were very respectful of their
friends’ toys and I observed lots of sharing and communication regarding the toys and their function or where they were obtained. It was a lovely day with unexpected results!