Posted by: principalsintraining | February 6, 2016

177,508 Reasons To Feel Playful: #GSPD2016

Screen Shot 2016-02-05 at 9.36.27 AM

Usually my posts are long and a bit rambling – rather than a long preamble to my experiences and feelings surrounding the second annual Global School Play Day, I will summarize what the day means to me through the lens of two tweets, shared from two locations 13,193 kilometers (8197 miles) apart:

I think the day is best described in the words of the participants:

The day got a bit of coverage from print/digital media: The OC Register and the Marin Independent Journal narrate two very similar stories from elementary campuses found in the two halves of California. These stories could be easily copy/pasted across the globe; children have the same needs everywhere (to be safe, to be loved, to be guided but not contained) and the same impulses (to run and laugh, to invent, to juxtapose and combine things without judgment, to connect with others and the world around them).


See all the 2016 participants here.

Our initial goal upon initiating Global School Play Day in 2015 was to have 1,000 kids participate (65,000 did); had we only reached that number, we would have felt incredible. Those 1,000 kids would have had an experience they would likely remember for a long time, perhaps forever. Now that, in Year Two, we have close to 180,000 students around the world joining in the celebration, my excitement is tempered by a bit of melancholy as well. Why? Because numbers do matter -Los Angeles Unified School District alone enrolls 640,000 students. Every digit represents a child experiencing freedom in a school setting for one day out of the year. Each one of those children will then carry forward that energy (and memory) in unknown and unexpected ways. I think it is the cheapest investment schools – and society – could ever make.


Year Three of Global School Play Day will be our chance to help Education get its priorities straight – to show that we are confident and wise enough to give children one day to chart their own course (hopefully with generous doses of plain, high-carb FUN and silliness). Ahem – adults like all these things as well. Here’s what students and staff at Hall Middle had to say about the experience.


Newsflash! Play isn’t just for little kids in K-8 (though, as a middle school administrator, I watch as the kids turn from little to kinda not so little. Sometimes after a long weekend that 6th grader all of a sudden isn’t so “6th” anymore…). In fact, I feel quite safe and uncontroversial saying that high school kids need it as much as the smaller ones – maybe more:


Ideas like this travel via various channels: the primal power of speaking to someone in person (they read the energy in your eyes more than they hear the story you are telling); the miracle and wonder of social media to read someone’s thoughts, to see what they are seeing (or hear their voice tell it) from 13,000 kilometers away.


Perhaps you are interested in GSPD yet feel worried about the reception this idea will get on your school campus. Consider the wise words of co-founder Scott Bedley: “When putting new ideas out there, prepare for pushback – and prepare to be surprised by the allies that emerge.” 



  1. Well done! Congratulations.

    • Now we just need a mascot…something easily reproduced with a 3D printer.

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