This April, students and staff at Langton Public School acknowledged Earth Day a little differently than they have in previous years.
To encourage both active, outdoor activity and an appreciation of the natural environment, the school yard was transformed into an adventure playground in what Langton PS hopes will become its first annual EarthPLAY Day.
"Every student had the opportunity to engage in self-directed outdoor play," said Principal Tracy Rodrigues. "The transformation of the school yard relied heavily on using a variety of loose parts: logs, rain barrels, hoses, pool noodles, cardboard boxes, shovels, tarps, buckets, ropes, tires, and other materials, some of which were donated, and others were low-cost items that were purchased using funds from a GEETF (Grand Erie Elementary Teacher’s Federation) grant."
The items were environmentally friendly in that this creative reuse was a form of recycling.
Cardboard boxes were a big hit, and really allowed students' imaginations to take over. Since everything was provided to them without any structure or expectations, it was up to students to decide how to use each item.
The result was a day of creating, exploring, and building. Gardens, forts, vehicles, telephones, and obstacle courses were just a few of the creations. Students welcomed the unstructured activity, and enjoyed getting to make their own rules with the random objects.
Their enthusiasm was clearly evident to staff. “Their faces lit up when they saw everything," said one Langton Public School Teacher. "We didn't guide the students -- they simply explored and built neat stuff!”
Many students are hopeful that EarthPLAY Day will become an annual tradition, and unique way the school community celebrates Earth Day.