Wednesday's Word

March 30, 2022

What's Inside

- Family Letter

- MCAS Schedule

- Needed: NPS Wellness Advisory Committee representatives

- Community News

- Norfolk Recreation Programs

- Classroom Happenings

Dear Families,

I am sure that we are all hoping that the month of April brings us nice weather especially following the dip in temperatures we have recently experienced. Nice weather also provides our children with additional opportunities to engage in a very important form of play that benefits all areas of a child's development called Unstructured Play. There has been a steep decline in this form of play over the last couple of decades as children's days are filled with more scheduled and highly structured activities. The American Psychological Association states that unstructured play is “a fundamental necessity for children to thrive physically, emotionally, mentally and socially.” (The serious business of play). Research conducted by numerous organizations including Stanford University has found that regular opportunities for children to engage in unstructured play not only develop a child’s problem-solving abilities, social skills, and creativity but can even improve the immune system. In addition, studies have found that providing our children with opportunities to engage in unstructured play is especially vital in addressing the social and emotional effects the pandemic had on our children. (Power of Play in the Pandemic)


What is the difference between structured and unstructured play?

Structured play is adult led and focuses on a specific task or skill development. Examples of structured play include classes like karate or dance, arts and craft activities, sports, and board games. These activities are important for developing specific new skills such as building stamina and strength through sports, being introduced to new ideas such as how to reason through a puzzle, or learning social skills such as taking turns.


Unstructured play is free play that is child led and directed. Unlike structured play, it does not require an outcome or product. Examples of unstructured play include playing on the playground, engaging in imaginative games, and having time to explore interests by oneself. As mentioned above, unstructured play provides children the ability to develop empathy, creativity, decision-making skills, and overall emotional and social skills.


It is recommended that children have a balance of both structured and unstructured play, especially following the social restrictions they faced during the pandemic. It is also recommended that children of all ages have opportunities to engage in daily unstructured play. Recognizing that this can be challenging to create, here is a link to some suggestions on how this can be achieved: 8 Easy Ways to Incorporate Unstructured Play into Every Day.


Wishing you a wonderful week ahead with some relaxing and unstructured time to play.


Sincerely,

Victoria Saldana, Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment

Reminder: ELA MCAS for grade 3 starts tomorrow

Needed: NPS Wellness Advisory Committee representatives

We are seeking at least one HOD and one FK parent representative to participate as members of the Norfolk Schools Wellness Advisory Committee. This committee is established to ensure that the District has a system in place to deal effectively with school health issues and is responsible for making recommendations concerning school health/wellness policies, programs and practices. We plan to meet approximately 4 times per year, currently planning for Fridays, 1:30-2:30 pm. If interested, please contact Dot Pearl, dpearl@norfolk.k12.ma.us.

Norfolk Lions 11th Annual Community Day Youth Art Show!

This is the 11th year for the Norfolk Community Day Youth Art Show and we are looking forward to seeing all the wonderful art work. The show will be June 11tht and we will be collecting the art work the Friday before on June 3rd. The theme is What does Your Community Look Like to You? Have fun creating!

Click on the flyer for more information

Introducing principles of Artificial Intelligence to elementary school children through games!

Our very own FK alum, and soon to be KPHS grad, Sheela Pandit has created games to introduce elementary students to the principles of Artificial Intelligence (AI) while having fun! The Game Box is located on the games shelf at the Norfolk Public Library. Check it out!

Click on picture for more information

Norfolk Recreation upcoming programs!

Kindness Week donations go to SAFE Coalition

The Freeman Kennedy students collected items during Kindness Week for the SAFE Coalition which is the local Community Mental Health Agency serving children and adults.

For more information: 774-847-9474 https://www.safecoalitionma.org/home

Artist Georgia O'Keefe comes to life in Mrs. Mellick's art class!

HOD students enjoying the PTO Book Fair!