Recently the Children at Play Network provided a day-long training at the Virginia Chance School for teachers of preschool through grade 5. The topics ranged from the value of play and the importance of risk for children as well as the use of loose parts and natural materials. The Chance School is reworking the playground and for part of the day teachers engaged in re-imagining the space through the possibility of play.
Here is one teacher’s reflection after the training as she observed the “richness” of play.
“I Played …”
By Corinne Kamiya, teacher, Virginia Chance School
A couple of weeks ago our school was closed so that the teachers could attend a professional development session about the importance of play provided by the Children at Play Network. It was a wonderful affirmation of why we use a play-based model and it was full of ways to change the frame through which we talk and think about play.
This week we had so much wonderful play, especially when an overnight thunderstorm flooded the playground mid-week. Our friends were tentative as they approached the giant puddle. They tested and poked at the mud as they tread into the water and made observations about the movements of leaves and mulch that floated and swirled and sank. They tried to catch the autumn leaves that the wind blew from the trees in wild unpredictable trajectories. They stomped and splashed. They filled buckets and emptied boots filled with water. They pretended to make “leaf soup” and stirred their mix with sticks. They screamed with delight and joy.
When you ask them what they did this week and they reply, “I played,” it is amazing to think about the wonder, richness, and joy that small phrase captures.