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The Power of Play
As vital for adults as for kids
It’s a glorious sunny spring day so they decide to gather in the courtyard off the teachers’ lounge at FIS Oberursel. FIS Wiesbaden colleagues join
in via Zoom. “We can make paper boats and race them in the stream,” pitches Loretta. “I could lead people on a sensory walk,” Alvit adds. Skipping, cornhole, hopscotch, elastics, water games – the ideas pour in following Susie’s Big Idea: “How about the games we used to play in our childhood?”
This is not a rerun of Squid Game, the Netflix hit where adults compete to survive a series of childhood games, but rather its exact opposite: adult play to enable living fully.
Wanted: A Social Committee
The courtyard meeting in May 2022 was the first brainstorming session of the budding FIS Social Committee: a cross-divisional group of faculty and staff, born from a desire to socially connect colleagues who joined FIS during the lockdown years. “Some didn’t even know colleagues in the same division,” Grade 4 teacher Ibironke “Ronke” Bearzi tells me. She joined FIS in 2021.
“The yearning to connect came up frequently in conversations,” she says, “and again at the IB Art Vernissage.” After two canceled years, the show was back in April 2022. Artworks exhibited a defiance to be defeated by the lonesomeness of the lockdown; an exhilarated joy hung in the air as visitors celebrated the students and being able to mingle once more. It drove Ronke to spring into action.
Making Wishes Come True
Ronke approached Paul Fochtman, Head of School, to share the desire, need and ideas to stimulate social connections, post-pandemic, among FIS faculty and staff. To Dr. Fochtman, this fit well with the school’s wellness strategy. He pointed her to Alec Aspinwall and Will Moncrief, then leaders of the FIS Wellness, Balance and Safeguarding Committee. Alec focused and framed the fledgling initiative: “How would the Social Committee best support wellness and balance at FIS?” It was the impetus for the May brainstorming sessions of the emerging FIS Social Committee.
All Aboard Childhood Games
In the courtyard meeting, Hailey suggests, “how about during in-service days?” These are the faculty and staff back to school days taking place each August right before the start of the academic year. “Brilliant! We bring everyone together!” But the logistics of bringing more than 300 adults
18 FIS World November 2022
together to play childhood games is no mean feat. The Primary School’s gym has a plethora of play equipment and the Oberursel campus includes a sensory walk, a stream and a pond – but what will it actually look like during the day? How will it work?
Ronke and Nicola volunteer for the task: “We’ll take care of that!” They count themselves lucky to have the help of Michael Johnston, Assistant
Floating nature-made boats on the Urselbach during start of school in-service days (below)

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