07 April, 2023

Why play is so important to learning at Northbridge

Why play is so important to learning at Northbridge-Why play is so important to learning at Northbridge-IMG_8279
Why play is so important to learning at Northbridge

Donita Bell
Grade 2 & 3 Leader

The students and teachers of Northbridge International School Cambodia have been involved in opportunities during the year to reaffirm the importance of 'play' in our everyday lives.

Alongside, our Global Play Day in February, last week Early Learning and Kindergarten teachers were involved in the Playful Schools Conference with carers, administrators & educators from all over the world sharing this important message – play can change the world!


Harvard Graduate School of Education - Project Zero, the Lego Foundation and the International School of Bilund hosted an online three day research-based workshop that focused upon the essential nature of play for children. In particular, the transformative qualities of learning to play and learning through play were explored as we identified the brain-changing and meaning-making processes that are nurtured through the many types of play that children engage in.


There is endless potential in learning spaces that include play and playful inquiry to allow to students make connections, solve problems, and make sense of the world. The human need to play is foundational to our wellbeing, our happiness and learning. While play allows children to be balanced, it is also the most authentic way of learning. 


Children learn as they play, but most importantly, in play, children learn how to learn” - O. Fred Donaldson 


Play is the highest form of research” - Albert Eistein 


As a team, families, educators, adults, peers and carers should surround our children with love, acceptance and freedom to play.  The truest understanding of these future adults come as we observe them in their own world of play.


Many skills that are developed including our PYP Approaches to Learning (ATLs):


·      Communication;

·      Research;

·      Thinking;

·      Self-Management 

·      Social Skills


In the Early Learning section of NISC, we are currently watching the new outdoor playspace unfold that will give students a space to run, jump, climb, move under and over, find places to hide and engage in the role play world of making the imaginative world come alive. 


This space under the shade of our big central aged tree will enable us to feel belonging as we cohabitate with the animals and plants that we share our playground with. The students’ anticipation for this new playspace is growing as we observe its progress each day. Even today, if you wander quietly into the playground, you will see and hear a multitude of expressions of learning. This is where we can observe who our children are.


You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation” - Plato


If you take a moment to reflect upon your childhood, maybe you will remember the joy that came from play. Reflect upon the moments you had to be in a state of wonder, curiosity and flow. Play enables us to reconnect to what really matters.


Think about the possibility of having the time to ‘play’ even now.  This is the time where we truly understand who we are in the world and discover our identity as ourselves, as social beings and as one who exists amongst the ecosystem of the world. 


Remember that daily opportunities to play are essential to our children’s developing brains. As educators and families, we have the responsibility to ensure that children are having time and choosing their own interests and opportunities to explore what they love and need – play.