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Fort City: Building & Problem Solving Through Play

November 29, 2016
By K. Lowitzki

On an ordinary afternoon at NorthPointe Christian Elementary School, an unusual sound fills the air during students’ recess:  rhythmic hammering.  Among the traditional ways to fill a recess (football, swinging, tag), students can choose to take part in a unique building time called “Fort City.”  

Equipped with nails, hammers, tarps, and plywood, students have free reign to put their creativity to work.  Incredibly, with no teacher directives, students form groups, make plans, and work together to create a variety of establishments in Fort City.  A Fort City "Sheriff" patrols the city as a safety officer.

Students work together on their 2 story hotel

A tour of the “city"  showcases a spa, a science lab, a church, a candy store, and a 2 story hotel.  As student Henry Nagle says, “I like to call our group ‘NBG - The Next Big Thing'.”   

Henry just might be onto something.  At NorthPointe, we are firm believers that creative and intentional play provide an opportunity for learning that teaching to the test simply can not provide.  While we are certainly rigorous in our academics, we believe creativity and problem solving are vital keys to learning.

Students pause to smile midway through construction of Fort City's church.

Fort City is just one of NorthPointe Christian’s many initiatives to provide hands-on, authentic problem solving opportunities.  As NorthPointe prepares students for jobs that are yet to exist, Fort City provides a springboard for learning and problem solving that will launch students into the future.

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