Play should not be confined to recess. Play and the inherent value of the experience are necessary and joyful aspects of all parts of school. Pasi Sahlberg, Finnish educator and author, said, “Play is how children explore, discover, fail, succeed, socialize, and flourish.”
Through play children develop more substantial social competencies, such as self-regulation, which allows children to persist through challenging activities. Children build intellectual flexibility and creativity as they learn to navigate peer relationships and cooperative play situations. From preschool through eighth grade, we honor the power of play because at St. Peter’s, childhood is cherished and because play is fun!
The Importance of Play
One way St. Peter’s School honors the richness of childhood is by recognizing the importance of play and the implications of providing unstructured time for play. Research shows that play reaps a multitude of benefits to children of all ages, including developing their imagination and agility, and stretching them physically, cognitively, and emotionally.
Beginning in Early Childhood, students are stimulated through activities and play spaces intentionally designed to engage them while providing opportunities to process and make sense of the world around them. Not only do Lower School students enjoy 40 minutes of recess a day, but they are also challenged to explore their imagination in the classroom in different content areas. Upper School students also enjoy recess each day, interacting with peers, and developing stronger social skills, empathy, and innovative thinking. We encourage them to nurture those same skills inside the classroom as well.
Whether it’s Upper School working as a team and strategizing how to beat their opponents on the field, Lower School practicing their artistry by creating a fantastical drawing, or the Early Childhood students creating whole new worlds through imaginative thinking with Magna-tiles, St. Peter’s students are growing alongside peers in a way that’s so much fun it doesn’t even feel like learning!
The School recently engaged the St. Peter’s Church to allow our students access to nearly all the parking area. On Tuesday afternoon, several teachers and administrators went outside and, with the limited tools of string, a ruler, chalk line, and some paint, created two Foursquare courts and a lane for the basketball hoop. They plan to do more, but it is all up to the imagination and suggestions from the students. These new opportunities will allow us to further encourage play for all our students during the day and at REACH. Stay tuned for more information, and keep an eye out for new changes in that area. If you have any questions or would like to support this initiative, please reach out to us.
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