I'm writing this post in advance - as you read this, Ontario schools are on their winter holiday time, the one-day strike by my board's union members was last Tuesday, and it's Christmas Eve day, for those who celebrate. I want to tell you about something I noticed in my school library prior to the break.
I've been trying to incorporate aspects of a kindergarten class into my school library setup, and that includes having a "play area". It has bins of costume jewels, toy doctor and construction sets, games, a mini-basketball hoop set, and I'll soon add a beanbag chair or two. During book exchange, it takes some students longer than others to locate that "just right" book to borrow. For those students that choose their reading selection quickly, they are allowed to shoot hoops when they are done, provided they ask beforehand. My junior division boys really like this opportunity to get physical in the library on their own terms.
I haven't been tidying up these play bins much - I have other things that are more demanding of my time - and since they've been lying on tables near the play area, I've noticed that students of ALL ages have been playing with more than just the basketball net. Grade 8s pull the trigger of the toy drill to hear it buzz; Grade 5s sort through the necklaces, Grade 6s turn the knob on that knock-off cheap-o version of Perfection to see it pop.
That suggests to me that kids of all ages and stages need and want to play - to explore, goof around, and touch stuff just because it's there. How often do we give older students "free time"? Maybe I need to "accidentally" leave out some more items to let their playful sides out. I hope everyone that receives presents at this time of the year gets something to play with, no matter what their age.