“Students interacted with each other,” remarked Mrs. Nikki Reed, Chapin Street Principal, following the Global Play Day celebrated on February 1st, “they played, and most importantly simply had fun with each other.”According to their website the purpose of the Global School Play Day is “to raise awareness of the necessity of unstructured play at school.”
This was the second year that all three Ludlow elementary schools participated in this nationwide event. Mrs. Melissa Knowles, Veterans Park Principal explained that “although we would have liked to designate the entire day to play, each school decided to have classroom teachers schedule 40-60 minutes for unstructured play.” A letter of explanation went home to parents with a request that students arrive to school on February 1st with any toy/game they wanted to play with, but there were restrictions on the type of toys; no devices, and the toys could not require batteries or electricity.
Game suggestions were shared with parents and students including board games, dolls, Legos, blocks, trucks, cars, racetracks, playing cards, empty cardboard boxes, markers, jigsaw puzzles, etc. Knowles explained, “Teachers at all three schools were instructed to not organize any of the toys/games or interactions, but to simply allow students to spread their toys out around the room, or take the kids outside and just play! It was a time for the teachers to try and be invisible; allowing the kids to just play. This was a day of unstructured play, not playful teacher-led lessons.”
“Global School Play Day gives our students an opportunity to share with their friends the games or toys that are important to them”, commented Mr. Thomas Welch, East Street School Principal. “It helps them learn how to interact and socialize with their peers in a less structured or competitive atmosphere. This initiative also fits within our efforts to teach the whole child through our Responsive Classroom and Fill Your Bucket programs.”
Reed was delighted at the imagination and positive energy the Chapin Street students displayed, “Experiencing unstructured play and student-guided discovery provided students the opportunity to be creative and think outside the box.” As one 3rd grader commented, " I thought it was fun getting to play with toys that I don't have, because friends were sharing their toys."
The Cat in the Hat once said , “Look at me! Look at me! Look at me NOW! It is fun to have fun but you have to know how.” From all accounts, on this Global School Play Day, at each of the LPS elementary schools, all students knew how to have fun, having fun!