Message from Tom Babits, head, Primary Division
You may recall Mr. Kawasoe’s short address at the parent information evening, when he talked about comfort and stretch zones. This is an important underpinning of education, and relates to the concept of the ‘Zone pf Proximal Devlopment’, as first articulated by Lev Vygotsky. This is the the difference between what a learner can do without help, and what they can do with help. We believe in providing enough scaffolding that students at different levels can maximize their time in their own stretch zone. Other times they can choose to be in their comfort zone, or they can choose different levels of stretch.
The approach to planning an outdoor learning environment is very similar. We want the boys at UCC to have a natural environment they can be comfortable in, or in which they can challenge themselves. They may choose to climb to get to the next level, or choose a quiet place to simply contemplate leaves. They could be on their own, with a small group of friends, or interact within a large group, perhaps playing a game. The same boy may well make different choices at different times. As adults well know, some days, we are up for a challenge to a greater or lesser extent, than on other days.
One aim of building our new playground is to support independent learning and exploring. In keeping with the IB Learner Profile which encourages students to take risks and explore new ideas and ways of thinking about things. We hope that boys will use the Learning Grounds in many different ways. Sometimes even in ways we didn’t imagine.
Some of you may have read about playgrounds, and our partners at Evergreen in this morning’s Globe and Mail. I encourage you to read it for further thoughts: