Why the act of play and the mindset of playfulness matters.
You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. – Plato
Here are some basic ideas of how we define Play. It’s a start, but far too shallow:
verb. perform – act – toy
noun. game – performance – drama – sport
There’s something truly interesting about watching play. There’s obviously something magical about being involved in play, but the observing of play has been the most enlightening part of my teaching journey of the past few weeks.
To play is to be creative and relational in so many ways. It’s loaded with problem solving and leadership opportunities.
Play is resourcefulness at work. I have seen kids analyse the tools in front of them, perhaps balloons, balls, rope or bubble, match the resource with the space and the number of participants and organise a game of sorts in under 5 minutes. Free from direction or instruction. I would argue the best work of my learners has come from play, and it has been up to me to take what I have seen and fuse it into inquiry time. It’s been breathtaking if I am honest.
I have watched as one girl shows off her gymnastics prowess in a cartwheel, to the awe of her peers. I have then watched as others attempt the skill, and then over the course of a week or so, not only are the cartwheeling skills of the group significantly more refined, so is the communication skills, and leadership capacity of the starter. In fact, these are skills I dare to say we may have trouble fostering in kids any other way.
I’ve long talked about play as a vital element in our education mix, as have many of my colleagues. But to see play and playfulness as the central focus of student body has taken my argument to a whole new level.
It is a happy talent to know how to play. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
How can we better harness or express the importance of play?