Autumn is the season of cooler weather, crisp leaves on the ground and corn on the cob — all worth looking forward to for sure. But, for me and others in public education, September is also our New Year. It’s a time of starting again, the excitement of seeing the kids back in classrooms, maybe some fun new equipment in the school and the optimism of tackling new challenges with some energy in one’s personal tank.
It’s really a great time of year.
As I enter my 34th year in public education that excitement is still there — freshly polished floors, big ideas on our learning agenda and a bunch of exciting new projects to tackle.
Yet, similar to last fall there is still a feeling of anxiety amongst many in our community. COVID continues to provide a significant distraction for many and a challenge for us as we focus on teaching and learning.
Your heart is pounding. Your palms are sweating. Your stomach is doing flips. And then there are your pervasive thoughts — as you feel these physical symptoms your mind is spinning with worry and fear.
Now picture this as if you were a child. Your life experiences may be minimal. Your ability to be resilient may also be limited. And you are fearful.
I’m not a psychologist. Not a therapist nor a counsellor. Nope — I’m not a mental health professional. My background is a science teacher who’s now a Superintendent — certainly not a trained expert on mental health or anxiety. But, it’s something I’ve been learning about.
One guess. Where is this quote from? It’s not from a playground company, sportswear company or even a community rec centre.
If you guessed BC’s revised curriculum you’d be correct!
It’s a critical pillar of the learning paradigm for primary students within our current BC Curriculum. Play is recognized as a critical mode of learning for developing key skills — things like problem solving, collaboration, listening, teamwork, empathy and understanding. These things are essential if we’re hoping to help build our children’s opportunities for success as they enter into an increasingly complex world of inter-relationships.
Playing = Learning
The importance of play in positive mental health can also not be overstated.