Play for Innovative and Resilient Learners


Innovation through ‘Play’ is essential for all students. It promotes a growth mindset and is inclusive of all student values, identities, voices and cultures. This includes all students with FNMI backgrounds. When learners can engage in play, their potential for learning will dramatically increase. A big part of this is because play not only has the ability to connect all aspects of a student’ life, but it is a the heart and soul of innovation.

We  can incorporate play into our learning environments through creating time and space for innovation and play.

It is increasingly essential for educators to help learners to be in constant pursuit of innovation. This includes helping students to understand how to locate and access the appropriate resources that will enhance and promote the learning experience. Educators can help students, including our FNMI students, to become innovators, to make sense of our world in the 21st Century. We can do this by:

  • Allowing time for PLAY!!
  • Helping students to set appropriate goals
  • Continually assessing and reassessing goals
  • Reflecting and thinking about goals.
  • Locating, Accessing, and properly using important resources.
  • Identifying Student Values

Our students come to the classroom with values, experiences, cultures and knowledge that is essential to their learning. If we over-identify with the classroom itself as the primary environment for learning, this will marginalize other wonderful aspects of a students life. Play is a great way to help promote identity, values and voices of our students. Then we can innovate to help them integrate learning into important knowledge, culture and experiences that they live with.

Educators play a large role in by helping students create balance by:

  • Helping students to set priorities in their lives.
  • Supporting a balance between school-life and home life.
  • Facilitating learning opportunities that help students to process and examine important topics in society.
  • Enabling students to identify and understand explicitly what is important to the student in his or her own life.
  • Providing time for students to Play and Innovate.
  • Promoting Personal Safety

It behooves our students to be able to reason, look at all viewpoints, consider options, and know how to ask for help. Educators can help students to set priorities, make plans, but also to be flexible and adaptable to sudden changes. For this to happen, students also need to feel safe to try new things, safe to take risks, and safe to be themselves.Educators can facilitate this by acknowledging all of the important variables that affect student safety, and how they effectively learn in our Schools. These include:

  • FNMI connections, culture and knowledge
  • Ethnicity
  • Culture
  • Gender
  • Family
  • Relationships
  • Time for play
  • Time for innovation
  • Poverty
  • Special Needs

Caring and dedicated Educators can be aware of, and proactive, to promoting equality and understanding within the classroom. This is also essential to spurring on innovation!

Certainly, many new changes exist as our ever-changing workforce continues to change to meet new cultural norms and expectations, including globalization. The experiences that students will face during key developmental years, will play large roles in helping our students to develop their own self-esteem, skills, and careers. Helping children to integrate school work and play together in a continuous and fluid manner is one way to achieve these goals.

This is very similar to helping individuals to integrate their life roles together through work and play later on down the road.

Right to Play  is a powerful organization that strives to engage students, spark innovation, and also promote healthy communities.On May 10 I watched them give a powerful presentation about how we can use play to overcome poverty, conflict and disease in disadvantaged communities. Research has indicated strong links between playful adaptability in children and characteristics including creativity, innovation, spontaneity, personal success, goal achievement, sense of humour, competence and resilience! These have always been important aspects of FNMI cultures.

Further, all of the aspects are also essential in the workplace, (and a shame that many of us as adults of have lost touch with these fun aspects of life!)

Teachers can strike an optimal balance within the classroom by setting aside time for play and innovation.If individuals have not gained adaptability skills in their youth, this will undoubtedly affect future resilience, acceptance, growth, and the ability to adapt to an ever changing world. The future of Canada and Canada’s economy also will be stronger with more resilient students. I am very privileged to be a part of such powerful PLN’s that support Innovation and Play in learning.


Deborah McCallum


© Deborah McCallum and Big Ideas in Education, 2012-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Deborah McCallum and Big Ideas in Education with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


Please Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: