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Haynesfield Students Unplugged
Haynesfield Students Unplugged
Posted on 05/04/2022
PLAYS Class

Walk into Sara Shaver’s classroom at Haynesfield Elementary School, and at first glance you will feel like you have taken a step back in time. Electronics are nowhere in sight. It’s only a room full of students immersed in hands-on games, toys, and other activities. However, as you take a closer look, you do begin to see signs of the times. The truck being hand propelled along the “highway” is actually delivering Amazon packages to nearby homes and businesses. The kitchen operation in the back is providing Door Dash to eager customers. On other days the kitchen is transformed into a fast food drive-thru.

Welcome to PLAYS (Play while Learning to Apply Your Skills), a 30-minute special area class at Haynesfield that meets twice per week for kindergarten through fifth grade students and once per week for preschool students. While the cutting-edge technology tools of today’s educational environments are key to preparing students for success in 21st century college and careers, advancements in technology have led to many children spending less time simply “playing.” That is not the case in PLAYS.

The classroom has two sections that students can sign into each day. There’s a side that is more for building. It is filled with items like Legos, Kinetic Sand, and Imaginext. This side also has games, such as Clue, students can check-out. The other side has additional imagination-inspiring opportunities, such as a kitchen, a store, a tent, and numerous art supplies. As a reminder of the many creative minds and hands that frequent the space, the room is filled with student art and other creations.

“When Ms. Hardin first talked to me last school year about the class, it was going to be a STEM class,” Ms. Shaver said. “From there it evolved into this unplugged time of students engaged in hands-on activities designed to inspire their creativity and imagination. They play while learning and develop important skills like teamwork. It has been so good for them.”

Most importantly, what do the students have to say about PLAYS?

  • “PLAYS is amazing. We get to choose what we want to do!” Emmett Minge, 4th grade
  • "When I'm here, I get to be myself. I get to be creative with toys I don't have at home." Finley Hampton, 4th grade
  • "It's a way to get our energy out during the day." Farris Lamie, 4th grade
  • "We get to play with our friends with different toys. It's like an indoor recess." Natalie Vance, 3rd grade
  • "I love hanging out with friends and being able to choose something different to play each time." Sam Clarke, 2nd grade
  • "It's kind of like a brain break from work and gives you a time to be creative." Olive Strickland, 2nd grade
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