January is a long, cold month — but inside Success Academy schools, our kindergartners light up the days with hugs, smiles, and plenty of imagination. We’ve always held a deep commitment to play at Success; we hold recess sacrosanct, celebrate the fun of dressing up on spirit days, teach chess as part of the curriculum, and dedicate an afternoon each week to board games. Our schools have had Blocks rooms since the beginning, where kindergartners can experience the joy of working with their pals to build elaborate constructions.
Last year, we doubled down on this commitment to play with the introduction of “Choice Time” in Kindergarten. Now, five days a week for hour-long periods, our youngest scholars head to the Blocks Room, or stay in their classrooms and choose among stations dedicated to sensory materials (clay, play dough), building materials (Legos, Tinkertoys), dramatic play, art, reading, creative writing, and board games. Scholars participate in each activity — Blocks or Choice Time — for two days in a row, giving them extended time to work on projects in which they are deeply engaged.
Last year, we doubled down on this commitment to play with the introduction of “Choice Time” in Kindergarten
More than a year into the initiative our youngest scholars are loving their new playtime. They have more time to socialize and collaborate with their classmates to problem solve, create, stretch their imaginations, and have tons of fun! Our teacher are also big fans — they report that having even more creative playtime in the schedule is helping them become closer with their scholars earlier in the year, allowing them to more deeply understand their personalities, and to better support those who may face challenges in or out of school.
Play is such a vital way to cultivate our scholars’ creativity, emotional well-being, and love of learning. We hope you enjoy this sideshow of smiles at SA Williamsburg, a glimpse of the joyful “work” that goes on during Choice Time and Blocks — and, to learn more about the importance of play, join us tonight, Thursday, January 17, at the Robertson Center for The Power of Play: How to Use Playtime to Help Kids Thrive!