I love this consideration of play from a Principal in AR:
I really love the question you captioned one of the photos with: “Can you find the teacher?” I think this is at the heart of why play matters so much. If everyone in the room (or the wide open space) is playing and learning together, it is very difficult to pick out any one person that is “leading” the activity. I think you are right to think about the ways that we should be incorporating play into our classroom and the way that we should start looking to children’s play as a source of inspiration for learning.
However, I am one of those people who finds the act of learning to be “fun” and “playful.” I find that when I encounter a new problem and solve it through a lot of effort, I am playing as hard as I possibly can. I wonder if the reason why most people don’t see play in the classroom is that they don’t see learning as play. Discovering something new or building something with someone else (an idea, a project, or simply a discussion) can be recognized as intellectual play and emphasized just as much as physical play. While I recognize that not all kids have an affinity for intellectual play, I would hate to leave behind those that have a capacity to develop it. Do you think recess is a combination of different types of physical and intellectual play, and how can we make sure there is a balance in the classroom (and other learning spaces)?