Each year, our QAHS Wellbeing Committee decides upon an element of PERMA+ Positive Psychology framework for intentional development. This year our Wellbeing Committee has chosen 'Positive Engagement'. Being engaged involves living a life high with interest, curiosity, and absorption, and pursuing goals with determination and vitality. It is proposed that engaged individuals are curious (Kashdan, Rose, & Fincham, 2004), interested (Hunter & Csikszentmihalyi, 2003), and passionate about worthwhile pursuits (Vallerand et al., 2003). Throughout the annual wellbeing focus of Engagement, the QAHS community will have opportunities to engage in a range of strategies to intentionally boost our wellbeing pillar of Engagement. From our toolkit for Engagement (see the infographic below), one weekly activity our community can enjoy together is 'Play Friday'.
Researchers suggest that we are built to play and build through play, as it allows us to view the world in different ways and explore new behaviours, thoughts, strategies, and ways of being that stimulate our neural connections for learning, growth, and creativity (Brown, S., 2009). As a result, play can energize, lift mood, renew optimism, and open us up to new possibilities. (Brown, S, 2009; Kane, P., 2004)
Why 'Play Friday'?
Research suggests it is necessary to create conditions that allow engagement to occur (McQuaid, 2019). Distractions can make it hard to stay engaged. We sit down to work on assessment and emails pop up, people stop by to chat, and we are pulled into another class/ CAS group/ social circle. Technology constantly pulls on our attention, making it a challenge to focus on the task at hand, despite our best intentions. Finding ways to structure our schedule and environment to reduce distractions can help us engage and be more productive.
One strategy to enhance engagement is by 'Staying Playful'.
Rather than seeing play just as purposeless fun, play can help us explore new behaviours, thoughts, ideas, strategies and ways of being that stimulate our brain for learning, growth, creativity and seeing new possibilities. Going outdoors, doing a different activity, is one way to create space, engage and bring ideas to the surface for action. Other ways to be playful include drawing, making a vision board or model, role-playing a customer service experience, or creating avatar scenarios, being as creative and playful as we can in the moment.
Each Friday in Weeks 9 and 10, students are encouraged to wear their sports uniform, and engage together in the range of activities on offer before school, at lunchtime and afterschool. These activities include volleyball, finska, pickle ball, handball, skipping, hopscotch, snakes and ladders, skipping, chess and cards to allow themselves to stimulate curiosity and creativity as they improvise, explore new ways of doing things whilst finding their flow together.
Mrs Alita Lee