As you may know, Willowbrook’s school-wide theme is around PLAY this year. We believe that play is essential for learning. This is an opportunity for more holistic learning experiences – to find natural ways to include play in our day-to-day work with children. This is another opportunity to build social-emotional skills. Finally, we hope to strengthen our school community with multi-age grouping.
Play Packs were launched today. The entire school was grouped into 17 packs of 20 to 21 students. Each Play Pack had 3 staff leaders/facilitators. A steering committee created the lessons plans, borrowing aspects from the Responsive Classroom meeting structure (greeting, activity, share, reflection).
We plan to bring these Play Packs back together again on future half days. I expect these play gatherings will forge new social networks and increase the social capital of all our students. Just as the Whole-Scale Change innovater Kathie Dannemiller posits – Smaller groups work best when they are maximally diverse. The Willowbrook Play Packs can serve as a microcosm of the larger school. Our structured and unstructured play in these diverse small groups gives us the opportunity to put down our individual interests and care for the well-being of the entire school.
— Scott Carlson (@willowbrook30) September 29, 2017