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 Five months later: Ronke Bearzi (left) and Susie DiRisio in the “Brainstorming Sessions” courtyard at FISO
 Head of School.“He’s an expert at putting people into groups and giving clear instructions,”Ronke tells me.
The Childhood Garden Games took place during the in-service days this past August. It was the first whole-school event of the FIS Social Committee, and it was a blast. Ronke recalls colleagues dancing with colleagues in the middle of the upper sports field, and Susie will never forget another colleague “with shoes and socks off, paddling like a teenager straight into the stream after the sensory path walk.”
As Vital for Adults as for Kids
alive. Play emboldens us to lower our guard, trust others, think in novel ways, and flex our optimistic muscles. Play helps us form resilient relationships, collaborate, persevere, solve problems, learn faster, be more flexible, hope for the future and be altruistic. Cortisol “stress hormone” levels sink as our energy and well-being rise. Life gets good.
Coming Up Next
What began as an initiative to help integrate colleagues arriving at FIS during the community’s most asocial years, quickly grew into a whole- school wellness initiative, as the benefits are for all. The FIS Social Committee mission statement recognizes the importance of all-inclusive play:
Many of our cultures dismiss adult play – “Building relationships of FIS colleagues and
especially in a work environment – as frivolous and unproductive. Adulthood is serious business. Taking care of adult responsibilities precedes time to play. At best, play is a just reward for hard work, and even then, oftentimes can feel like a guilty pleasure or selfish pursuit.
But play is vital for ingenuity, productivity, society, and life. There is ample science on the benefits of play – and on the damages of play- deprived living. Play wires kids’ and rewires adults’ brains to be more complex and social. Play boosts EQ (emotional IQ) and total learning and problem-solving, involving both IQ and EQ. It helps kids learn and adults tell the difference between rough tumble and aggression, friend and foe, surmountable challenge and stressful obstacle. Play-deprived kids often struggle with relationships, and play deprived people of all ages are at greater risk of developing unhealthy behaviors, harming themselves, or hurting others.
What Science Says
When life is all work and no play, it becomes a proving battleground, a self-centered world of expected serial disappointments where problems are hidden, denied, and avoided. Anger, apathy, procrastination and withdrawal blossom while empathy, cooperation and motivation drown. But when play is allowed into life, life comes
their families through interactive, inclusive and enjoyable events.”
Currently, there are more than a dozen active members driving the cross-divisional FIS Social Committee, and an additional three support it as needed. Social Committee events have included trips to parks and museums in the region, and a weekly email call up to attend the FISO Stammtisch. Plans for future events include a World Cup Sports Pool, Random-Acts-of-Kindness, Quiz Night and Secret Santa, among others
Keep playing and live full on.
Maria JC Monteiro FIS Alumna Parent
FIS Colleagues mentioned in this article in order of appearance: Loretta Smith, Pre-Primary Teacher; Alvit Tomlinson, Teacher Assistant ES / German Teacher; Susie DiRisio, Assistant to the Librarian ES; Ibironke “Ronke” Bearzi, 4th Grade Teacher; Paul Fochtman, Head of School; Alec Aspinwall, Director of Admissions and Advancement; Will Moncrief, Athletic Director; Hailey Brittain, Math Teacher US; Nicola Collins, PE / Health Teacher; and Michael Johnston, Assistant Head of School
November 2022 FIS World 19

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