This trimester we put on our researcher hats and dove deep into play. We used principles from AnjiPlay, a play philosophy founded in China, to inspire ideas for a playground renovation. The “ordinary” items we have introduced on the playground have inspired many different ideas and conversations about why play is important. We launched with the mentor text, Kamala and Maya’s Big Idea, in order to make connections to our own playground renovation project. Inspired by ordinary objects added to the playground and using sentence frames taken from the mentor text, students were able to compose persuasive letters written to our school community on why we should add their ideas to our playground and why play is important! Throughout the project, we discovered different SEL powers we use during play such as teamwork and bravery. As students tracked their “Play Powers” and created 3D models of their “Big Ideas,” they explored math concepts like shapes and graphing.
Looking back, we are so grateful for the opportunity to be a part of such a meaningful project. It was a powerful reminder that even at a young age, we have the capacity to generate imaginative and thoughtful solutions. Throughout the project, we found ourselves reflecting on the importance of play in a child’s development. The playground is more than just a physical space, but a canvas for fostering social skills, creativity, and physical activity. Each of our students’ playground ideas, whether it was a whimsical treehouse, a colorful swing set, or a grassy soccer field, seemed to encapsulate the essence of joy and discovery that characterizes childhood.