Play at Ambleside
Play is an important time for the child to develop skills of self-regulation, imagination, non-directed speech, and fairness. Children should most often play out of doors in a field or in wooded areas. At Ambleside the children engage in highly imaginative play whether it be with content from Shakespeare, history, literature, or setting up a market. The teachers are ever watchful from the side, quick to intervene during times of angry outbursts or unfair play. Three rules for the playground: Anyone can join in play or a game at any time. Teachers choose sides or teams. And no one can sit and read a book – all are active. Howard P. Chudacoff, describes the atmosphere of children at play in the past and now, “They improvised their own play; they regulated their play; they made up their own rules." But during the second half of the 20th century, he argues, play changed radically. Instead of spending their time in autonomous make-believe, children were supplied with ever more specific toys for play and predetermined scripts. Essentially, instead of playing pirate with a tree branch they played Star Wars with a toy light saber. He calls this the commercialization and co-operation of child's play — a trend that begins to shrink the size of children's imaginative space.” Play is also an opportunity to instruct in social skills. It is especially important to oversee the relationships with the children. Therefore these qualities are instructed through 'masterly inactivity' a gentle prompt here a word there.' Children should be taught the following through outdoor play: To initiate play. To be inclusive in relationships; be aware of classmates. To be innovative and imaginative. To be kind and share. To be active (skipping, jumping, running, climbing, scouting, and stalking). To participate in "sight seeing".