If you are a teacher within the Early Years or KS1, there must have been a time when you have called a child to the table to complete some work with you and they have replied with – can I go and play now?
I was lucky enough to meet the amazing author, Greg Bottrill, who has written the book ‘Can I go and play now?’ Listening to part of his talk was extremely inspiring and linked to all of the reasons and values of why I became a Primary School Teacher.
Greg discussed the importance of inputs and hooks for children’s learning – ‘learning should be like poetry,’ with children’s interests woven into how we teach the curriculum.
I love Greg’s idea’s about the magic door. Greg’s suitcase is the planning, and he walks through the magic door into children’s adventures. He provides the skills children need within that adventure and then he lets them continue with their adventure.
No child wants to go on your adventure! Just like us, as adults we are more interested on going on our own ‘adventure.’
Everyone wants to go on a journey, but their own journey. Children learn so much more from going on their own adventures.
When having a discussion with Greg he pointed out a really interesting fact.
Every Roald Dahl books shows the importance of children. Children are portrayed as the ‘magical characters’ and the adults are less important. It gets you thinking right?
Greg also speaks about the ’emotional connection.’ I talk about this a lot in my blog. Children need that emotional connection with others.
Building that emotional connection with pupils is something I really ensure I do. Having a sense of humour, listening to the child, having empathy and showing care is all so important. As recently shown on my blog, I remember packing away all the things in my classroom and a child gave me this card. She waited patiently until I opened it and my eyes filled with tears as I read it. My mission was complete. I had built an emotional connection that will be remembered forever.
‘Children don’t learn from people they don’t like!’ – Rita Pierson
Children don’t always remember what you have taught them, but they will never forget how you made them feel.
Greg discusses the constrains of the curriculum demands, school assessment policy, Ofsted…that get in the way (known as the grey area).
He discusses the Yellow area – children’s curiosity, creativity, the skills needed for the unpredictable jobs and future ahead.
Unfortunately this yellow area often gets covered by the grey area.
Greg also talks about the emotional connection known as the black area. Emotional connection in learning and through building positive relationships. Children sense the energy of a teacher and the enthusiasm. Throughout my year of teaching Reception every few minutes a child is proudly showing me a model. I constantly hear:
Miss Pinnock come into my castle or would you like some tea over here? Come to my party , its about to start – I will give you cake!
After talking to Greg I have realised that the children are inviting me into their magical world. Their own adventures linked to their interests and that’s the moment I can use my skills, to get down to their level and provide them with further skills before letting them continue in their magical world.
Children are magical. Children see things completely different to us. They are magic and learning needs to be magic – not like robots. -Greg Bottrill
To enhance the learning in maths this week I have planned a shape hunt that consists of 2D and 3D shapes. Letting children move away from the ‘focus table’ and explore their surroundings by searching for shapes in the environment brought so much creativity, curiosity and interests. Children found shapes in objects I would have never even seen as an adult. As we grow our imaginations get squeezed out of us but a child see’s the world in a completely different way.
This activity meant that all children were engaged and learned the skills needed to name each shape – 2D and 3D. A child picked up his shape hunt sheet at the end and said – “Can I bring it home?” And I never heard the words.. ‘Can I go and play now?’ Why? Because to them they were playing and playing was valued!
Greg is such an inspirational person. He has lots of talks and visits to offer schools.
Take a look at his blog for more details:
As always let me know what you think!
4 thoughts on “Can I go and play now?!”
this is how we should model learning. children should see play as an integral part of learning. the play shouldn’t be the reward for completing tasks, but part of the tasks. That being said there are various levels of play in school and play that teaches/interacts with a specific skill will look very different from imaginative creative play. it is the attempt to incorporate the two together that make the most successful classrooms in the early years
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Yes thank you for the comment! I hate seeing play given as a reward. Yes I have really noticed the difference. Children don’t get much out of playing without any interaction do they? Sometimes it’s just a few minutes of interaction that’s required and children learn and develop some pretty amazing things!
Thanks for sharing your thoughts about the talk, Sabrina. I totally agree with Greg. I’ll have to get a copy of his book.
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No problem, I’m glad you have enjoyed it! Yes reading his book is a must!x
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