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Lower School students play creatively with blue blocks on the roof.

Making the Case for Play

The New York Times published a column that speaks to some of the ways that children thrive at BFS: “How Physical Fitness May Promote School Success.” The title may not sound like it would be produce any revolutionary new information. Intuitively, we as parents already know that there is a connection between physical wellness and all kinds of favorable outcomes—in school, as in life. But this article, based on a large-scale study of school children, established a direct correlation between physical activity and school success: “Fourth and Fifth grade students who ran around and otherwise exercised vigorously for at least 10 minutes before a math test scored higher than children who sat quietly before the exam.” Exercise invigorates our brains for learning and performing well.

I am proud to work at a school that values and honors children’s need to play. Our teachers and administrators ensure that all of our Pre, Lower, and Middle School children get ample recess every day. So much real learning blossoms from child’s play, which exercises the body and the imagination, as well as nurturing lifelong skills like taking turns, sharing, including others, collaborating, settling a problem amicably, and expressing empathy. Our PE and Dance programs nurture not just our students’ bodies, but also their social skills, emotional wellness, and good character. We want your children to run around and have fun and BE Children here. And we want them to grow and mature as community members who know how to interact well with others. If the physical activity also benefits them on Math tests, then all the better. We at BFS care for the whole child.

If you are interested in reading more about this topic, I recommend a fascinating article in Aeon magazine, which looks at play from an evolutionary perspective.