Let the Children Play

Amy Woodgate | Head of Junior and Middle Schools

‘Children are biologically wired to play.  Play is very serious business for them.’

Maggie Dent (Australian educator and author)

Time over recent months spent close to home has likely given our boys and girls many opportunities to play.  As Maggie Dent states, they are wired to play, no matter what their age.

Play is…

  • A Year 1 girl designing and building a Lego tower to act out the rhyme ‘Jack be nimble’
  • A Year 7 boy trying different ways to solve a visual puzzle
  • Students from different grades joining together to play basketball on the courts, making up rules as they go along without the involvement of an adult
  • A Middle School Humanities class taking on roles as members of the Australian Government and demonstrating arguing a Bill in their unit about Democracy
  • A group of Year 3 students being gently guided by their teacher to play a maths number game
  • A group of Prep students taking on the role of archaeologists to dig for hidden artefacts in the sandpit
  • A teacher singing a reworked version her favourite rock ballad to spark a class’ interest in a Maths concept
  • A teenage boy pulling apart the engine of a broken down dirt bike to see how it works and how it can be put back together
  • A Year 5 girl completely engrossed in a ‘passion project’ during a time of independent discovery

 

I’m sure that there are many other examples of play that you can list you’ve observed in your boys and girls inside and outside of the home that sit closely alongside the many types of play we observe here at school in our indoor and outdoor learning spaces.

Play is more than just free play.  It is a purposeful form of learning that is intrinsically motivated and sees children and young people actively engaged in discovery.  Play can be self-guided by the child or scaffolded by a supportive adult.  Whether structured or unstructured, indoors or outdoors, playful experiences foster creativity, curiosity and imagination.  Play can be silent and solitary or loud and interactive.  It can be messy and it can be joyful.

In their recent book, Let the Children Play, renowned Finnish Educator Pasi Sahlberg and academic William Doyle dedicate an entire chapter to the learning power of play.  They describe the importance of play to healthy brain development, as well as development of imagination, dexterity and physical, cognitive and emotional strength.  Play is how our children from an early age learn to interact with the world around them.

Play at any age provides children with opportunities to explore the world in their own terms.  It nurtures self-esteem and self-regulation, whilst developing problem solving skills, an understanding of social rules when interacting with others and enhancing cognitive understanding.  Physical play can build strength, coordination and fitness, as well as a sense of accomplishment when skills and challenges are mastered.

‘Play is not a luxury but rather a crucial dynamic of healthy physical, intellectual and social-emotional development at all age levels.’

David Elkind (American child psychologist)

It is important that we prioritise time for play for our boys and girls to allow them to be thinkers, innovators and collaborators.  Play does not replace formal learning, it is learning.  As the title of the book suggests…. ‘let the children play’!

Mothers Day Giveaway featured image

Mothers Day Giveaway

This Sunday is Mother’s Day – a time to celebrate mums, grandmas, aunties and all the special people in our lives who take on the …

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Mothers Day Giveaway

This Sunday is Mother’s Day – a time to celebrate mums, grandmas, aunties and all the special people in our lives who take on the role of ‘Mum’.

We’ve teamed up with some of our wonderful Warwick businesses (Emporium Lane, Warwick’s Gardens Galore & The Weeping Mulberry) to share the love this Mother’s Day by running a promotion on Facebook. We asked our followers to like, share and tag their friends and families and we’re happy to announce the winner is KATE HUTCHISON!

Enjoy Kate… and Happy Mother’s Day!

Cake Decorating Champions featured image

Cake Decorating Champions

Image Above: Winning Cake goes to Caitlin Auger (Year 12) Our Catering Manager Mr John Rogers had a tough time picking the winners for this …

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Cake Decorating Champions

Image Above: Winning Cake goes to Caitlin Auger (Year 12)

Our Catering Manager Mr John Rogers had a tough time picking the winners for this week’s SCOTS Connect challenge of cake decorating. Below are a few words from the Chef himself announcing this week’s winners.


Dear Students

Absolutely amazing cake decorating efforts. I’m blown away by your creativity and technical ability. The competition was close in each section. A special shout out to the Year 9 cohort who had the most entries, this was great to see.

Results are as follows:

Senior

Winner (overall): Caitlin Auger – Year 12 (pictured above)

Runner up: Rosemary McDonald – Year 12 and William Auger – Year 9

Middle

Winner: Mackenzie March – Year 8

Runner up: April Ries – Year 7

Junior

Winner: Stephanie McCosker – Year 2

Runner up: Elsie Davis – Year 1

Congratulations to you all, your prizes are in the mail!

 

 

Rosemary McDonald – Year 12

Mackenzie March – Year 8

April Ries – Year 7

Stephanie McCosker – Year 2

Elsie Davis – Year 1

 

Message from our Chaplain featured image

Message from our Chaplain

Rev Willie Liebenberg | Chaplain Self-isolation and connecting in new and varied ways are just a few of the challenges we have all been asked …

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Message from our Chaplain

Rev Willie Liebenberg | Chaplain

Self-isolation and connecting in new and varied ways are just a few of the challenges we have all been asked to overcome. Nature teaches us many ways to deal with things.

It is important to remember that before there can be new growth, the seed must fall to the ground, separating from the tree that gave it life, and then die, to germinate and bring new life.  We are experiencing a season of letting go, a time of adjustment in our everyday life, to achieve keeping everyone safe.  If we are to embrace what will be, we must let go of what was.

There is a story in a book called the Unexpected Universe about a man called the Star Thrower. The story is by the late Loren Eiseley, and it goes like this:

On a beautiful tropical beach occasionally, the tide and the surf would be just right, and they would combine, and cause many starfish to be cast far up onto the beach.  Some of these starfish were very beautiful. After they were cast upon the beach, professional collectors and sellers would descend on the beach and swoop up all the shells.  After taking them home, they would boil them and clean out all the flesh of the animals inside them and then sell the shells to tourists.  Some of the shells were very valuable for they were exceedingly rare, and a diligent collector could make a lot of money. 

One morning, after the moon and the wind, had been just right, and many starfish had been tossed up on the beach, a man was seen at the far end of the beach all by himself, picking up starfish one by one and throwing them back into the sea. People where curious about what he was doing with the starfish while so many other people were busy collecting. Someone went over to him and asked him if he too collected things on the beach. “Only like this”, he replied, “I collect only for the living”, and throwing another starfish back into the sea he said – “See, one can help them…” He was asked, how what he was doing could make a difference in the face of all the collecting going on.  As he threw another starfish back into the sea, he turned and said, “It made a difference to that one.”

I think that this story has a lot to say to us about Jesus and ourselves.  The thing is, in the midst of this world most people exploit things for their benefit, they take every advantage to get ahead, to gain more than they already have, and even the things of exceptional beauty are not exempt.  Given the right circumstances – people rush to pick up that which is suddenly and unexpectedly made available, ignoring, meanwhile, the suffering that is all around them in their hurry to look after themselves.  Jesus was a star thrower.  Jesus moved among us.

Instead of seeking to enhance and enrich his own life, he paid attention to those who were in need; he collected for the living, he helped them instead of himself.  What we need in life cannot be grasped by us, our own desperate efforts cannot fashion it, we cannot take it from the shelf in the store; instead, it can only be received as a gift of God.