Children spend a majority of their time awake in school, and that’s not including any extra tutoring or wraparound care. This wouldn’t matter so much if children were leaving school to spend their afternoons roaming the neighbourhood, enjoying pick-up games and building forts in abandoned lots. But they’re not.
Increasingly, school is most children’s best chance to test boundaries away from their parents and build strong peer relationships – in short, to play.
But what do we give them? Twenty minute slots, if that, in a fenced tarmac square. Adults walk the periphery like prison guards, on the look-out for fights. Those fights become more likely when play opportunities are reduced, and everyone scrambles for a little of what they need. In many schools recess has become a hotly contested corner of the day that no one particularly wants to staff, and several schools have scrapped recess entirely.
Whether you’re an educator, administrator or parent, we want to help you and your school offer children rich, responsive and inspiring places for play.
But what about risk?
Change is scary, and anyone promoting loose parts at recess is going to be asked what happens if children get hurt. Our module “Advocacy, Bureaucracy and Risk” is designed to walk you through the risk-benefit process, and show folks that loose parts actually reduces children’s injury rates in the short and long-term.
Isn’t it enough to just buy some stuff?
We love junk too, but knowing what to choose and how to introduce it is crucial. Storage, maintenance and staging are all key to a project’s success. We share case studies from schools that have implemented loose parts recess in the US, UK and Australia, so you can see what has worked (or not) in situations like your own.
What about staffing?
This course is grounded in Playwork beliefs and practices, but translated to a school context. That means we look at key vocabulary terms, specifics of play support and advocacy. This way, you’ll be prepared to support children’s play when you’re with them, and ready to advocate for it more effectively with parents and colleagues.
How do I get parents on board?
Speaking of those parents and colleagues, are you still looking for the best resources to engage and persuade? We look at strategies to help you keep the school community informed and invested in these changes.
Where do I start?
Playful Schools Online Course
– We honestly believe that this is one of our best resources ever. Every school is different, but we can learn so much from one another. These 7 modules are designed to help you build your own path, choose your battles, and feel supported throughout.
If we wait for the ‘perfect’ day to arrive, these children will be collecting retirement!
Since 2010, it’s been our honour to provide training and mentorship to folks who support children’s play. These are passionate, dedicated people who care deeply about children’s right and freedom to express themselves, to follow their own inclinations, satisfy their own curiosities, to enjoy their childhood. As they progress, learning more and putting those lessons into practice, we see community build around them and the astonishing beauty of play. These are people just like you, learning from those who have gone before and then finding their own way.
What will you do next?