It’s another day, and my fourth opportunity for a #5days5words blog post. Today’s word is not a new one for me, but it is one that I’ve been thinking about a lot this summer: play.
Last month, I read a fantastic book by Lisa Griffen-Murphy about play. Much of this book aligns with what my teaching partner, Paula, and I believe about the value of play, so even after only reading a single chapter, I was inspired to share an Instagram post about it.
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I may only be on Chapter 2 of this book, but I cannot tell you how much I ❤️❤️❤️ it already! It speaks to all that we do in the classroom to really support children, build relationships, and value play. The thinking behind the K Program Document is so well-captured in this book … at least in the first few chapters. My note in the book so far is, “OMG! I ❤️❤️❤️ this. I need to get @paulacrockett to read this book.” But why just tell her about it?! Others deserve to hear of it’s fabulousness, even at the very start. (When tree climbing, knowing your learners, and long blocks of unstructured play are supported in Chapter 1, how can I not love the rest?!) ❤️❤️❤️ #ctinquiry #iteachk #teachersofinstagram
My love of this book continued, and surprisingly for an academic text, I actually struggled with putting it down.
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#summerread2018 and #avivaandfriendsrecos number 17 may be one of my all-time favourite professional reads. Read THIS book. It truly highlights the value of play and the impact that it can have on later academic success. I found myself nodding along to so much in @ooeygooeylady’s book, thinking about how I could do better in other areas, and remembering so much of what my teaching partner — @paulacrockett — has taught me over the past few years. I will mention that Lisa explores play from a preschool lens, but this does align with how we see play from a #kindergarten lens in a school setting. It is also the perfect accompaniment to our K Program Document, and I hope that all #fdk educator teams in Ontario read it and think about it. Would make a great book study with educators from other grades and even administrators joining in. I wonder how it might get everyone thinking differently about play and talking more about it. I cannot tell you how much I ❤️❤️❤️❤️ this book. Even aligns with a lot of what @stuart_shanker has shared on @self_reg. There is just so much good in this book, and I really could not put it down (which is rare for me when it comes to a professional read). I hope others get this book. You will not be disappointed! ❤️ #iteachk #teachersofinstagram #ctinquiry
In the end I could not praise this book enough, and there’s so much that I could blog about on it, but Lisa actually provided me with one of my aha moments on play. It was towards the end of Chapter 16 that I read this paragraph and added my note.
For a couple of years now, I’ve struggled with figuring out why there is such a huge disconnect between what “free play” seems to look like in different classrooms, when our document is so explicit about the value of unstructured play. I think this paragraph sums up a possible reason.
- As adults, how do we interpret “play?”
- What kind of structure do we impose on it?
- How do we become more comfortable with the “free play” from our childhood?
I can’t help but think about this wonderful comment from a Camp Power camper the other day. Every Friday, we invite parents into the camp to join us in our learning, and this child was building with her mom when she made this comment. I’m so grateful to her instructor for tweeting it out.
— Hwdsb Camp Power (@HWDSBCampPower) August 10, 2018
Contemplating what both Kristi Keery-Bishop and Sue Dunlop said on creativity, I question if we can get to this deep level of creativity, imagination, thinking, problem solving, and application with the more limiting nature of the structured play that we might provide. I wonder what would happen if more school and Board PD allowed educators to get creative and play in an unstructured way. Would we unlock some of the magic from our childhood? Are we ready to do so? With a new school year approaching, I wonder if we could re-look at what “play” means, and what it could inspire in kids of all ages. Imagine the possible impact on all subject areas if we could get to the deep thinking and problem solving that comes from true play.