The Patchogue-Medford School District on Long Island launched a Let Grow Free Play Club— and boy are they having fun!
The principals, that is. Oh, and so are the kids. They meet before school for mixed-age free play. The adults don’t organize the games or wade in.
"My work has convinced me that age-mixed play is qualitatively different from play among children who are all similar in age. It is more nurturing, less competitive, often more creative, and it offers unique opportunities for learning.” - Peter Gray, Ph.D.
And as Patch.com reports, the administrators can’t believe their eyes:
"It’s amazing to see the benefits that this program has provided our children. Children have the opportunity for self-directed mixed-age play for an hour before school. Kids must be free to play in school.” - Dr. Michael Hynes, Superintendent
“To watch children across all ages and grade levels come together to play is fascinating to observe! This club is self-directed with minimal interference from the adult advisors. Children are communicating, collaborating, cooperating and learning together.” - Lori Koerner, Principal of Tremont Elementary.
“Teachers in the building have agreed that this time of physical activity has allowed for students to be focused and ready to learn” – Rui Mendes, Principal of Bay Elementary.
“I think the program is important in building social skills and teaching students how to navigate each other’s feelings as well as difficult situations,” - Dr. Tania Davenport-Dalley, Principal of River Elementary.
Play Club is monitored by school staff, and children of all ages play together.
“What was completely unexpected was how the older children took it upon themselves to include and guide the little ones. It was amazing and awesome to watch.” - Judith A. Soltner, Barton Elementary Principal.
Watch our Let Grow Play Club video to see it in action and email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how your school can get kids interacting, helping, making new friends and solving problems in a whole new way.