Inspired by the story of Caine’s Arcade (see video on YouTube), our upper school students joined forces with businesses in the community to launch a “Day of Play” for our lower schoolers and other elementary aged children in the community. While the event was designed to appeal to lower schoolers, upper schoolers found leadership opportunities in connecting with local businesses and individuals to gather supplies for the event as well as providing needed help at the event itself.
Two student clubs launched their first club projects at the event. Film club made a documentary film and president of the school’s photography club took pictures for posterity. Leaders in our school’s Invisible Children club found the event a perfect fit to encourage their larger vision of inspiring creativity while also raising money for the Imagination Foundation and Invisible Children. In the middle school, science classes built arcade games and decorated them in their art classes.
For our school families, the day provided unstructured play with recycled materials and invited children to invent arcade games and play them with friends and parents. One faculty member observed how many fathers accompanied their children to the event, a population we sometimes feel are under-represented in parent association social events and planning meetings.
The most compelling aspect of the experience was how relevant the experience became for all divisions once we invited older students to play key roles as organizers and participant leaders. It really was an event for all ages. Also powerful was the opportunity the “Day of Play” afforded us to reach out to others in the community to both support and participate in the event. By the end of the day, the event raised $2000 that students were able to donate to two causes that serve other children nationally and globally.