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Day of Play in Mason

  • Jack LeBlanc and Autumn Spear play together during the Global School Play Day on Feb. 7 at Mason Elementary School. —Courtesy photo

  • Third graders Cole Williams and Joshua Pettingell playing Battleship during Mason Elementary’s participation in Global School Play Day on Feb. 8. —Courtesy photo

  • Second-grader Ellie Monbleau, third-grader Ella Iannuzzo, second-grader Tanner Seaton and first-grader Liam Casey play together. —Courtesy photo



Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Monday, February 12, 2018 5:41PM

School is usually seen as a place of structure for children. But last week, Mason Elementary School did away with the structure and let kids spend the day doing what kids do best: Play.

On Feb. 8, Mason Elementary participated in the Global School Day of Play, a movement that’s been gaining momentum in elementary schools since it started in 2015. The concept is exactly what it sounds like: Schools put away the books for a day and instead set out different games and toys and let the kids decide what they want to do. It’s not structured, or timed, and children were allowed to bring their own favorite toys or games they wanted, provided they didn’t have any batteries or require electricity. 

“Sitting back and letting an entire school of children play without adult direction or interference was amazing to watch. The laughs, smiles, and pure joy on their faces was priceless,” said Principal and Superintendent Kristen Kivela. 

Kate Coey, who teaches second grade, brought the idea to the school after a kindergarten parent told the teachers about a talk that was being held in Massachusetts about the concept. She was immediately interested, she said.

“It was interesting to have to sit back and watch them go through and play together and negotiate and solve their own problems,” said Coey.

“I have one student, who is somewhat shy socially, and he walked right up to a group of fifth graders, wanting to play Beyblade,” said first grade teacher Karen Mann. “It was great to see them intermingling – and they did it on their own.”

“We were a whole school for a day,” agreed teacher Colleen Ringer. “Because we’re generally one teacher per grade, we can get pretty isolated. This was a great way to reconnect with other teachers and past students, and give them a chance to see us.”

Kivela said she is interested in doing another day of play during the year, perhaps during the school’s spirit week, and encouraged other area schools to look into the practice, whether for a full day or just an hour.

 

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext . 244 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter  @AshleySaariMLT.