McMurrich Junior Public School

Introduction

Our project

As we look ahead to this school year, we are actively planning, revamping, and reimagining how we can continue to infuse play in our classroom as a driving force. We continue to support deep thinking through experiential learning and being intentional about relevance, representation, and agency. Students will be building a better understanding of their role and responsibilities about issues of human and environmental sustainability in a rapidly changing and interconnected world. Learning through play is hands-on, invites inquiry, and drives problem-based learning while providing opportunities for autonomy, imagination, and building confidence. Students will be guided through the Design Thinking process, learning about the UN Sustainable Development Goals as they explore, ask questions, and play by planting and maintaining a school garden. Students will have opportunities to use robotics which will be programmed to complete a series of challenges. We look forward to collaborating in The Canadian Playful Schools Network as we seek out new ideas and experiences, and listen to various perspectives while being able to share and learn from others across the country.

Tell us about your team and your school community.
Kamla Rambaran and Zélia Capitão-Tavares and we are teachers at McMurrich Junior Public School in the Toronto District School Board in Ontario. I would like to acknowledge that where we are sharing from: We are hosted on the lands of the Mississaugas of the Anishinaabe, the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, and the Wendat. I also recognize the enduring presence of all First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. As educators, we continually seek, reflect, and create meaningful learning opportunities for students, who also have time to share their experiences, cultures, perspectives, and goals. Looking within our classrooms and school community, we focus on students™ building creativity, confidence, and a problem-solving skill set. We hope to build a path towards forward thinking and to promote change. Also, having a positive outlook in recognizing the impact in their daily choices or actions within the school and the world around us.

Tell us about the importance of learning through play for your team and for your students.
The importance of learning through play provides a space for students to become risk-takers, creators, and problem solvers while taking ownership of their learning. Well-being supports the development of students by embedding spark and movement beyond the classroom. Design Thinking and leveraging technology! STEM-based learning experiences explore the nature of ‚play™ to create innovative and intriguing games, and go beyond being consumers. Along with our STEM builds, leveraging coding, game-based, and challenge-based learning through simulations has provided many students with an alternative to tell their stories through digital literacy. The School Garden was designed, planted, and maintained by students to promote the importance of pollinator gardens and native plants. Giving the opportunity for students and the community to come together to plant and harvest.

Tell us about your interest in joining the Canadian Playful Schools Network.
Participating in the Canadian Playful Schools Network will allow us to collaborate with other school communities across Canada to network, celebrate, reflect and continue to implement play into our classroom programs. Opportunities to continue engagement in various learning spaces to foster the competencies: critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and problem-solving. Building relationships with community partners and connections with mentors in which students see themselves reflected and represented. Learning through play allows students to be active participants in their journey with many entry points to facilitate their passions and interests. As we look ahead to this school year, we are actively planning, revamping, and reimagining how we can continue to infuse play in our classroom as a driving force.