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All work but still play…

As children head toward their teenage years and beyond there is often some confusion over what play is allowed or expected within the school playground. This is particularly true in secondary schools where there is little affordance for risky, different or unusual types of outdoor play.

Peer pressure, often restricts the type of play that is undertaken, as does the time and priority given to outdoor play within the school day.

Here at Playgarden we are passionate that age should not be a barrier to outdoor play in school and that no matter what their age, children have a natural drive to be active. Running about, climbing, hopping, jumping and balancing not only promotes motor skills, it also strengthens cognitive abilities.

The school playground is one of the few places that children visit, on a regular basis, that is free of traffic and free from the fear of strangers and this should be harnessed to allow for free play opportunities.

When considering outdoor spaces within secondary schools it is important to highlight the value of break time and enhance opportunities to be active. The benefits it can bring in terms of physical development, social development, mental health and wellbeing are as important, if not more so, than the increasing academic pressures that older children face.

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