“Play, not as a one-off project, but as a way of being” : a post-onboarding reflection

After meeting some of these amazing school teams on their onboarding meetings, what really stood out was the diversity each school brought with regards to their process, progress and projects. We really have a range of educators that are in different stages in their thinking, but ultimately working towards the same goal of embedding play into their schools; not as a one-off project but as a way of being. The onboarding meetings were a way to help make their thinking visible and have their voices heard in terms of their motivations and hopes for the network, and what I saw was an overwhelming amount of teachers who are dedicating themselves and their practices to putting students first.

Their principles and practices seem to stem from their students, whether its student needs, language development, wellbeing, engagement, attendance etc., to use play as an additional tool in their teaching toolkit in creating safe spaces for learners to shine. This is definitely not an easy task. I personally come from a background that is quite prescriptive in its teaching philosophies with the curriculum dictating many of the pedagogical decisions teachers make. To be able to see how these teachers work within the broader curriculum to achieve the required outcomes, but in playful ways, is a marvel to me. We have a network of teachers that are currently thinking, teaching and testing playfully, so far within the capacity and bounds of their schools and communities, which is an incredibly inspiring feat in itself, but the opportunity to connect these diverse ideas and ways of thinking together is a powerful step forward that I’m so excited to be a part of. 

Sajani Karunaweera is a graduate student from Sri Lanka. She is deeply dedicated to the area of educational technologies and how digital tools can be used in critical, reflective, and accessible ways. Whether it is in the context of teaching, assessment or professional development, her work attempts to capture the use of technologies, not as a replacement for teaching, but as a tool for the discerning teacher. Her involvement in this network builds on her motivations to promote safe spaces for students to express, explore and expand their knowledge, albeit physically or digitally, through the power of play.