Playgrounds and play facilities form an integral part of any school premises, especially in nursery or elementary schools that cater for the educational needs of younger children. Whilst play facilities are an excellent way for children to burn off their excess energy and improve their physical skills such as strength, dexterity and coordination, they are also a vital part of learning and education. Whilst many people will see play as simply an activity that promotes fun and enjoyment, there is also a range of recognized educational benefits from this type of activity. Put simply, a child at play is one that is exploring the world and building their understanding of basic concepts that will be developed as they get older. In this article, three ways in which teachers use playground facilities to reinforce a range of learning methods will be explored in detail.
Unstructured play is a form of recreation where a child takes part in various fun activities that have no specific learning goal. For example, in a play area, children can be given building blocks and allowed to build structures and designs that they create themselves without obeying any pre-set design plans. In a playground environment, children can be given the opportunity to play on a range of equipment pieces in any order they wish and have the freedom to create their own games and rules on these pieces of apparatus. School playground equipment such as that supplied by www.huckplay.co.uk can provide the ideal environment for unstructured learning. This type of learning allows children to gain autonomy over how they approach their play and can help to foster strong creativity skills. In addition, children improve communication with others as they create and discuss the rules of games using this equipment.
Teachers will commonly incorporate a range of group activities that can be carried out for recreation. In the playground environment, this may involve team games such as football or other sports that require children to play together in groups. Group activities are a great source of fun for children but they also serve to build some key skills that are of benefit in all stages of life. Team games allow children to work together as a group and communicate effectively. The basics of leadership skills can be developed by undertaking group sports (such as having a captain of the sports team who leads and communicates with the rest of their players) and the core skills of functioning together as one unit are developed. These types of skills are vital in adult life when entering into the world of work. It is important to be able to work with other team members and communicate effectively. You can read more about team activities for children here.
Improving social skills
As a final point, playgrounds are also an excellent way to improve and reinforce social skills in children. Many of the playground facilities will require children to take turns on playground apparatus or to use them after waiting for another child to move to the next piece of equipment. This helps a child to gain patience and understanding when playing in a group. Playing together in a playground helps children to be sociable with each other and develop friendships. This can be especially important if a family has only one child and doesn’t interact with other children often whilst in the home environment.