February 4, 2015 was the first official Global School Play Day where over 65,000 students from schools around the world participated in unstructured play. On the afternoon of February 7, 2018 the Thought Leaders at AISPP, that’s what we call our 21st century teachers, took a step back as students from ELC 3 all the way up to Year 6 joined over 385,000 students worldwide in unstructured play.
The key idea of Global School Play Day is still to educate. In many traditional schools around the world there is a decline in ‘play culture’ so the aim is to teach students, parents, and colleagues about the benefits of learning through unstructured play.
Students at AISPP were encouraged to bring toys from home that they wished to play with on the day. The only restrictions being that the toys were not allowed to be battery or electrically operated, and absolutely no screens were permitted. Board games, lego, jigsaw puzzles, marker pens, empty cardboard boxes, balls and playing cards were some of the items suggested to the students.
Before the unstructured play commenced, the students were gathered together in order to discuss their roles and responsibilities during Global School Play Day. Students agreed that their main responsibilities were sharing and playing fairly with their peers. As the teachers are encouraged to step away once the unstructured play begins it is important to provide a platform for the students to set boundaries for themselves and develop an understanding with each other regarding appropriate actions. A great experience for practising social skills too. Students were even allowed to play wherever they wanted with some students choosing to play outside, whilst others thrived on the chance to play in other learning spaces. Some of the Foundation students loved the idea of playing in the Year 6 learning space for example!
The most important aspect of Global School Play Day is that it is student centred and driven. Teachers must not organise activities for the students and under no circumstances tell them how to play with their toys or games. This is a time for students to discover their inner creativity, design, work cooperatively and problem solve, all important 21st century skills. At AISPP students enjoyed being creative with recycled materials, challenging each other with board games, and working collaboratively to build towers out of wooden and plastic blocks.
In 2019, Global School Play Day will be happening on February 6 with the aim of having 500,000 participants! AISPP will certainly be taking part again. Come and join us!