A snow day is a gift of time for play, independent work and keeping connected in the ways that make sense for the work you want to do.
When there’s a chance of a snow day everyone gets excited. And for all kinds of reasons.
For many it is the potential for some good play time – a chance to sleep in perhaps and then do some things for which there is never enough time.
And a piece of that delight is that we will see things transformed.
Snow changes shapes and light and we see things anew. Our world is changed and we delight in that.
And of course the educator in me starts to muse on the importance of embracing change and the role of playing and the changing culture for learning. (I know, I know – so stop reading and go play in the snow.) Then come back and watch this video.
I think we all do our best work when the boundaries between play and work are blurred. This is so easy to see in children when they develop a passion for something – raptors or reptiles, Harry Potter, baseball stats or the cheat sheets for a video game.
All of a sudden they are truly experts with a mastery of information and all without formal instruction. Often they memories and “know” vast quantities of information without the effort of formal study. They do this by independently delving in but also by becoming a member of the tribe of aficionados who share the same interest or passion.
Adults do the same thing when they find a community of interest – a support group say – when faced with a new challenge. This is the new ecology of learning - connected, infinite, open, social and often playful.
Knowledge is not a fixture out there – but rather something to be made, played with, uncovered, discovered, integrated, learned, remixed and made anew.
Play is not just the work of the child. Play is the way all of us adapt to the swirl of change and embrace that which would otherwise engulf and overwhelm us.
Douglas Thomas and John Seeley Brown have a book on this very topic and you can read the first three chapters for free:
I love that sub-title.
Of course snow days are not always fun and games and the disruption can be difficult.
So if you’ve been shoveling or shivering or suffering in any way – may you, too, find time to play soon.
How will you use your gift?