Morning Meetings & Structured Play
As Plato once said, ‘You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.’ In the first moments of a school day, the structured dance of morning meetings reveals these layers of discovery. Play is often underestimated as mere child’s play, but it forms the foundation of a child’s developmental years. Serving as a universal language for children, it allows them to explore, express, and understand complex concepts, all while enhancing their cognitive, physical, social, and emotional skills. Whether spontaneous or structured, play is not only a source of joy but also an essential tool for learning and growth.
Play involves activities undertaken purely for enjoyment, without a specific purpose. Yet, paradoxically, its impact on cognitive, physical, emotional, and social development is profound. While children play, they are not just having fun; they are shaping their brains, forming relationships, comprehending intricate emotions, and establishing the groundwork for lifelong learning (Zosh et al., 2017). Each play moment offers valuable lessons in creativity, problem-solving, resilience, and more.
Unlike free play, structured play is organized, and goal driven. It can be thought of as play with a purpose. For example, a child participating in a game with rules, a craft project with a clear end-goal, or a guided musical activity is engaged in structured play (Zosh et al., 2017). Click here to download 16 group activities to use during morning meeting.
Morning meetings provide an ideal setting for structured play, offering children a safe and controlled environment to learn and grow. Through these activities, children can explore their world, express their emotions, and understand complex interactions, all within the framework of structured play. While spontaneous play has its benefits, incorporating structured play into morning meetings can facilitate intentional learning and skill development, emphasizing its essential role in nurturing a child’s cognitive, physical, emotional, and social abilities.