Hopefully over the past week you will have heard you child mention the word ‘OPAL’ and talk about how much they are enjoying their lunch breaks. This is because we have embarked on a new project to develop the quality of our lunch time!
High quality play experiences contributes to school success. Over the course of your child’s school career your son or daughter will spend 7 years in school from Reception to Year 6. While most of that time is dedicated to curriculum subjects such as maths and English, 1.4 years of that school time is spent outdoors during break and lunch. This is valuable time for hands on learning and enriched exploration.
The benefits of outdoor play are incredible and self-directed play is a necessary and important part of every child’s life. Research shows that self-directed play supports the development of the whole child :
- cognitive skills – like maths and problem solving in a pretend grocery store
- physical abilities – like balancing blocks and running on the playground
- new vocabulary – like the words they need to play with toy dinosaurs
- social skills – like playing together in a pretend car wash
- literacy skills – like creating a menu in the mud kitchen
Children practise and reinforce their learning in multiple areas during play. It gives them a place and a time for learning that cannot be achieved through completing a worksheet. Play provides rich learning opportunities and leads to children’s success and self-esteem.
When we improve play at school, both children and school benefit. Children who play are ready to learn; they experience fewer behaviour problems and have a more positive attitude toward school. Schools that plan for great play spend less time dealing with unnecessary problems and experience fewer playground incidents and we have certainly experienced great results this week.
We have seen a significant reduction in the types of ‘low level’ accidents and incidents this week as the children are loving the choice of activities. Jack, from 4B, was very animated when he told me what he had participated in this week as he really enjoyed the digging area and mud kitchen. Today though, he decided to try something new (and stop his shoes from getting too muddy) and built a fantastic tent today-which then proved very useful to hide under when the rain came in!
We will be keeping you updated on our progress with this project. In the meantime we are very happy for children to bring in a change of footwear or water proofs if you are worried about muddy clothes/feet.
Before I sign off this week I would like to thank you all for your harvest donations. If you still want to bring something in its not too late. We will be visiting the foodbank towards the end of next week. Please can I remind families that children can have a fruit snack at break time -no biscuits/cereals bars please.
Have a lovely weekend.