Play in Learning

As many of you know, Opal School in Portland inspires St. Paul School of Northern Lights. Opal School uses the phrase “playful inquiry” to describe their approach to learning, which is beautifully highlighted in this blog post about their writing workshop. Described in the post, early writers were invited to first play with some materials to inspire a story they would then write about. Through play, the students developed characters to connect to their learning objectives. Rather than play being what children do in their “off” time (recess), Opal School incorporates play as school work, recognizing that play and learning are not separate times of the day. In fact, learning is happening ALL day. While waiting for the bus. While at the lunch table. While picking kickball teams. And while playing kickball. Children (and adults!) can’t NOT learn!

Many parents mistake play as an activity taking time away from learning. Other parents see play as something children deserve to have more of in school because “kids should be kids” (which is not wrong!). We challenge both of these notions, though, by asserting that play is both a form of learning AND fuel for learning. (And no, this does not mean students won’t ever have to do things they don’t want to do and everything will be fun always!)

Opal School is attached to the Portland Children’s Museum, which allows them ample opportunities to share resources. Northern Lights will seek the Minnesota Children’s Museum museum as a source for playful learning inspiration! As I was perusing the Minnesota Children’s Museum’s website, I noticed some amazing resources for families that I think would interest Northern Lights families.

Also, the Minnesota Children’s Museum is FREE to anyone on the 3rd Sunday of every month AND offers free transportation to the museum on the 2nd Saturday of every month! Perhaps we should plan a Northern Lights playdate there sometime?

School NorthernLights