Free Cooperative Play is an activity in which I incorporate into all my PE Programs across all stages. Simply, a variety of equipment is made available for the students to explore, play and manipulate individually, in pairs or in groups. Across the School of Foundations (SOF), they love this structure as it provides them with freedom. Freedom to play with the equipment of their choice (they can play with all equipment or just one or two) and can play for as little or as long as they want before moving onto the next.
Previously, I wrote a blog about how Incorporating Student Choice in Physical Education is beneficial at St. Luke’s. In this version, I will elaborate on how Free Cooperative Play, or ‘Student Choice’ is aligned with the St. Luke’s 6 Pillars of Learning. A snippet of the Pillars are illustrated below.
Firstly, students Witness Christ through Free Cooperative as they are strongly encouraged to play, share, work and cooperate with their peers. One of the rules of the session is that we can’t say the word “no” to each other. This promotes the Teachings of Jesus, as He values all students irrespective of ability. So by students playing, sharing and cooperating with their peers, whom they may or may not be close with, allows each student the opportunity to Witness the characteristics of Jesus.
Students throughout Free Cooperative Play are encouraged to Manage their emotions through play. Through this structure, students have a lot of freedom to play with any peer they choose and therefore, should be able to regulate emotions in a positive manner, make positive choices about who they play with, how they play and what games they play.
Kindergarten to Year 6 students are able to Relate each other well during these types of sessions where Free Cooperative Play features. As previously mentioned, students choosing who they would like to work and play with will promote their abilities to work collaboratively and communicate effectively in these sessions.
Boys and girls of St. Luke’s demonstrate a good level of Inquiring during this setup. How? Well, they are able to look at various pieces of equipment available and pose questions to themselves as individuals, and to their peers in regards to what game or activities they can construct and play. Once formed, some students are able to then transfer knowledge (from previous sporting games/activities) into new contexts.
Free Cooperative Play allows students to Think about various things that they can see within this style of learning. Students are able to solve problems after they have created their own game with their peers or as individuals, and with some of Stage 2 students, they can reflect on (their) thinking once they have had a number of attempts at the game/activity that they have designed.
Last Pillar, and certainly not the least, Create. The SOF Students amaze me with the games they design from the equipment that is made available for them; some are simple and effective, others are more complex and accompanied by a number of rules and structures, but nonetheless, students are demonstrating their ability to make and construct using a number of resources in front of them. They are able to apply practice within the sporting space where they can utilise their required skills to partake in the game that they have brilliantly designed.
The SOF Students never cease to surprise me with the activities they create during Free Cooperative Play.