Word of the Week: Leisure
After recently observing our students engaged in a “paint and play” day, and also looking forward toward a week of Thanksgiving break, I wanted to share some thoughts about leisure. Dictionaries give us two definitions: 1) use of free time for enjoyment, and 2) the opportunity afforded by free time to do something. Leisure activities are both fun and intentional. To this, I would add two additional characteristics: 3) Leisure activities often (though not always) involve other people, and 4) Leisure activities often (though not always) require knowledge or skills. Think of your own leisure activities: sports, music, gardening, exercise, crafts and hobbies, gaming, spending time outdoors…how did you develop your interest in the activities that fill your non-scheduled time?
At TGS, one of the goals of our Plus One program is to help students develop leisure activities they can carry forward in their lives. Each quarter we offer a different set of AM and PM classes designed to expose students to activities they might not otherwise try, or to expand their skills in activities they already know they enjoy. This year at school we have offered sports (soccer), photography, hiking, gardening (terraria), table top games, and our newest offering, “Lifetime of Leisure Activities.” (We figured we might as well skip the sneaky and let them know exactly what we’re up to…)
In Lifetime of Leisure, we are introducing students to indoor and outdoor games that are often played in community or pick-up leagues (or intramural leagues on a college campus). By knowing the rules of play, students will have a future entry point to make social connections with co-workers, neighbors, or fellow college students. Last Friday, students played Kemps. Kemps is a card game played in pairs. The goal is obtain four-of-a kind and then to use a secret, non-verbal signal to get your partner to call out “Kemps!” Here’s where the sneaky returns…not only are they learning a game, but they also get to practice the critical and often challenging skill of reading nonverbal cues. Our popular table top gaming class similarly provides “bonus” skills, including fine motor (painting), sharing materials, winning and losing, and the ever-challenging skill of frustration tolerance.
So, in case you were wondering, leisure is why we play so many games at TGS. Leisure activities provide students (and adults) with the balance needed to focus on other, more stressful, daily activities. We all need leisure in our lives!