Godfrey-Lee — In the Godfrey Elementary Little Legends makerspace, a group of first-grade girls made friendship bracelets for each other.
Mayeleen Garcia explained, “We just use our fingers and the rubber bands,” as she used her hand like a loom to weave the small bands together.
“I’m making one for my friend,” she added.
The receiver of the small, brightly colored bracelet, Daniella Chub Matildez, smiled and said the group of girls were “all friends with each other.”
In other areas of the makerspace, students were building with LEGOs, coloring and playing with toy trucks.
Play was the theme of the day on Feb. 1, when Godfrey-Lee’s youngest learners took a break from regular lessons to participate as a school in the Global School Play Day, an effort to bring awareness to the importance of unstructured play for students in schools around the world.
‘It’s important to have unstructured time for kids to play, explore, create and cultivate new learning with each other.’— music teacher Tami Nelson
Since 2015, over 1.5 million students from around the world have participated in this carefree, screen-free day, according to their website.
Supervising the makerspace, music teacher Tami Nelson told a student who asked for directions, “I’m not going to tell you what to do. You get to decide.”
“It’s important to have unstructured time for kids to play, explore, create and cultivate new learning with each other,” Nelson said. “We stopped using the makerspace after its first year, so this is the first time it’s been back open and they’re so excited.
Kindergarten teacher Char Walsh worked with her fellow teachers, including Nelson, to imagine what a school-wide day of play could look like post-pandemic.
In previous years, the Early Childhood Center celebrated the day to step back from curriculum and make time for fun.
Walsh’s students began their day with a visit from their high school mentors and a game of Lotería, Mexican bingo. In the afternoon, each K-2 class got to rotate to another teacher’s classroom for different games and activities.
Downstairs, second-graders hula-hooped and kicked a beach ball down an imaginary soccer pitch.
One student skipped down the hall and yelled, “I wish we could play like this every day!”
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