Global School Play Day (GSPD) is a recent initiative which is gaining momentum across the world as more and more research indicates the importance of play for children. GSPD is designed to raise awareness of the need for children to participate in unstructured play.
Children acquire social skills when playing. They also learn to plan and organise. Research suggests that one of the predictors of academic performance in the eighth grade is a child’s social skills in the third grade. Furthermore, countries that allocated more time at recess also tended to have higher academic performance (Pellis, 2011).
Students from Pre-Prep to Year 6 commenced Thursday on the tartan track with exercise to music then moved off to various supervised areas around the Junior School. Years 3 to 6 were free to choose from volley ball, cricket and bocce on the front oval, and games on the track to classrooms where art supplies, board games and lego were readily available to use as they wished. Outside areas saw hopscotch marked on the concrete, elastics and marbles. Handball continued to be popular whilst dancing in the music room resulted in some great dance moves. Dress-ups proved very popular. In the ELP, whole areas were devoted to construction, sand play, play dough, pulling apart appliances and art.
Aside from the occasional teacher who could not help themselves and just had to join in an activity, the children organised themselves! The role of the adults was simply supervision and safety. As a couple of students said:
“This is one of the best days of my life,” Harry 3B.
“The best thing that could happen to me,” Zubin 3B
If you are interested in finding out more about the emerging research on the importance of play and in particular, the decline of play and the rise of mental disorders please follow the link to this very informative video.
The decline of play and the rise of mental disorders.
Pellis, S., Pellis, V., and Bell, H. ( 2011). The Function of Play in the Development of the Social Brain
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