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Day 5: Toshi C., Teacher (Holly)

September 12, 2012

Last night I thought I would lament about the end of summer. The passing of play and times of transition.

When I woke, however, unexpected news came our way. A local U10 girls soccer team won a national contest which bring accolades to them and funding for community soccer. I’m thrilled!

I’ve seen these girls around town asking people to support their team and community by “voting for them” online. I’ve heard their whispers, “She’s a teacher at my school.” I spoke to them in the summer. They told me what they love about soccer. How long it takes to perfect a new skill and how fun, but tiring, it is to be in this contest. I may teach some of these girls this year. Knowing about their passion for a sport gives me a snippet as to who they are and how ‘play’ has paved a path for opportunities.

Perhaps I associate the end of summer with the end of play. I have it all wrong. I need to look more closely at my perception of play.

What does play look like in my practice? Play is about the experience.

It is exploring and taking risks in a safe environment. Play provides an opportunity for students to articulate in a creative and perhaps abstract way. Play is relatively open-ended and may challenge students to think critically about the process rather than confined to a structure. While a goal will be in mind for play, the result may go beyond expectations.

Jean Piaget captures this sense of the value of play when he tells us that “play is the work of childhood.”

September’s here. Hmmm, shall we play?

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Jann permalink
    September 14, 2012 12:02 am

    Your passion for teaching and for critically thinking about your practice is inspiring! Thanks for sharing Toshi.

  2. Tony Weber permalink
    September 14, 2012 2:40 pm

    Toshi, that discovery through play will be lessons long retained. If you get a chance, read what Vigotsky had to say about children and play. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Vikki permalink
    September 16, 2012 1:10 am

    Toshi, wonderful blog – it brings me back a few years ago when I was teaching Roots of Empathy in a Kindergarten class and I saw such a powerful example of an application of other perspective-taking when a couple of kids were in the play centre comforting a baby and problem-solving over why he was crying – maybe he was hungry, needed changing, was tired and so on. This truly shows how play is such a powerful way to learn and why Roots of Empathy is an internationally recognized program for self-regulated learning.

  4. Keri Hanlon permalink
    September 17, 2012 4:55 am

    Thank you for sharing Toshi. Now let’s play!

  5. September 27, 2012 2:51 am

    T – I love how you continually reflect critically on your practice. Thank you for encouraging us to do the same in our practice.

  6. Claire Clancy permalink
    October 19, 2012 5:08 pm

    I love going into a Kindergarten classroom and seeing the amazing learning that goes on during the more unstructured play time. I know the K teachers are fighting to keep play at the heart of learning in their classrooms and would love to see it continue as they move throughout their school years.

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