The first Global School Play Day for pupils around the world took place in 2015; 2019 was the 5th year and over 385,000 pupils from 58 nations took part. According to the GSPD website this is the culmination of ‘The grassroots effort created by educators in support of unstructured playtime for students around the world’.
Peter Grey from Boston College, Massachusetts, says there has been a general decline in play, which is of concern as play is extremely important in teaching children to be self-controlled and self-directed. His research reveals that with this decline in play there is evidence of a direct linear correlation to an increase in anxiety and depression. Peter says play is where children can learn to solve their problems, taking control of their lives. Play is where they learn joy, to get along with their peers and to seek other points of view. Play is by definition creative, innovative and healing.
The simple fundamental premise behind Global School Play Day is to have no screens, no structure (other than essential supervision in the school environment) and to play all day long.
LEH Junior School
This year Global Play Day fell on Tuesday 5th February, and at LEH Junior School we decided to bring our participation forward to Friday 1st February. We turned off the computers, docked the iPads in the charging cupboards, then got out play dough, Lego, k’nex, board games and packs of cards. As in 2018 all timetabled lessons for the Friday afternoon were cancelled. The girls were split into House Buddy groups so that they could develop their buddy bonds and play with girls from other years. All our teachers were committed to the afternoon and several reported enjoying the therapeutic benefits of the play dough as much as the children.
If you were a visitor to our school that afternoon, you would have heard laughter and excitement from lively children as they circulated between rooms, talking and sharing their ideas. Everyone had a wonderful time and we are greatly looking forward to participating again next year.
By Mrs Allden – Teacher of Computing