Spark Play at Ascent is a loose parts-play model that consists of unprescribed parts such as wooden blocks, large tubes, barrels, tires, planks, tarps, scarves, milk crates, wooden stumps, sandpit tools, sandbags, and much more. Landscaping components such as the hills, tunnels, the A-frame, the gaga ball pit, sandpit, water tank, and pumps are used regularly to facilitate play.
Post lunch, the learners head outdoors and start Play which is usually around 12 noon. They choose to play amongst these many areas available to them, often also hopping from one to another, or choosing to stay immersed in one with their group of friends or by themselves. They still follow their inner rhythms, seasons, and calls, just as the self-driven morning work cycle. They get over an hour (about 1.40 hours) of Play every afternoon.
A great benefit of Spark Play is that it gives learners daily opportunities to practice building the muscle of cooperative play (shifting out from co-play). This often breeds conflict as the young heroes practice communicating their ideas and plans, practice sharing, and navigate interpersonal disagreements. At Spark Play, guides continuously model and facilitate conflict resolution with the children who in turn practice using powerful and empowering language repeatedly.
This post will be followed by Part 2 of the flow to dive deeper and get more insight into this part of the day of the learners. Until then, enjoy the pictures and this quote from Dr. Maria Montessori –
Play is the work of the child.