Children in all grades have two periods of free play during the day.
Children are more likely to engage in physical activity when they feel they can participate competently. This begins with a focus on basic coordination. In Group 1, kids practice basic gross motor skills such as throwing, catching, and kicking. These and other skills are developed in each group as kids are exposed to a variety of sports and games. Team sports like soccer, touch football, basketball, and volleyball help students learn team-building skills as well as the rules and procedures for each activity.
Our goal is to expose children to various sports and help them develop a level of comfort. Some may join leagues outside of school with more advanced competition but we’d like all of our students to feel like they can jump in a game at a picnic, family reunion, or friend’s house and hold their own. Gym takes place on the field next to our school, in our small gymnasium or a block away at Phillips Park. No matter where we hold class or what we are playing, we want our kids to experience the joy and health-enhancing qualities of physical activity.
The Importance of Free Play
Why is it so important to let kids play? According to the American Academy of Pediatrics' Clinical Report, in addition to being important to healthy brain development, the benefits of free play include:
- Allows kids to use their creativity and develop their imagination, dexterity, and other strengths.
- Encourages kids to interact with the world around them.
- Helps kids conquer their fears and build their confidence.
- Teaches kids to work in groups so they learn to share and resolve conflicts.
- Helps kids practice decision-making skills.
- It is fun.
- Physical activity helps build active, healthy bodies and helps prevent obesity.
- Helps kids develop social and emotional ties, both within the family and with other children.
It is important to note that this kind of play is meant to be unstructured, child-driven play. It is not the kind of playtime that is totally controlled by adults and doesn't include passive play, such as sitting in front of a video game, computer, or TV.