In the UK there are currently 12.7 million children (people aged 16 years and under) all growing and learning, usually starting school after their fourth birthday.
Schools enable children to learn fundamental skills, knowledge, and to build an academic foundation for a successful and bright future.
In addition to the classroom, schools have an extra tool that provides plenty of opportunities for learning and development each and every break time and that extra tool is the playground.
It’s a place for fun and making memories between classroom time, but it’s also an important base for all kinds of cognitive, imaginative, social, emotional and physical development – lets take a closer look:
How Do School Playgrounds Help Promote Child Development?
Children love to run outside and enjoy their break time because it’s a time to have fun, play and socialise. What they don’t realise is that their play is helping them to develop and learn the basics of a wide range of critical skills that will become important in adult life. Playgrounds boost child development in many ways, which can be grouped into the following categories: emotional, social, mental and physical.
In the playground children are able to feel a stronger sense of confidence and self esteem because they can try new things like playing with mud kitchens and other types of play equipment, and by getting more and more confident on structures like climbing frames and play towers.
Children also experience a range of emotions in the playground, helping them to learn to cope with those feelings in a healthy way, and in a safe environment.
Children can enjoy playing with their friends at playtime, developing vital communication and social skills. Children also start to understand more nuanced social cues, learn how to be independent and how to play with others.
When sharing play equipment like swing sets or climbing frames, children learn how to be patient. When sharing equipment like sand trays and mud kitchens, they learn how to negotiate and how to collaborate and play with others using role play.
In the playground children are encouraged to play, which helps to increase their attention spans, something that has shortened across all ages due to modern technology and types of entertainment.
Children also use critical thinking skills, especially when being creative and learning how to problem solve and work around challenges. Motor skills are also improved with running, climbing on climbing frames, digging in sand trays, grabbing, picking up and squeezing dirt in mud kitchens.
In playgrounds, children can also go wild with their imagination, especially when using imaginative outdoor play structures like role play shelters, trains or play houses.
The physical benefits of play in the playground are far-reaching. At its most basic level, the playground is a space which naturally encourages kids to move around as they run and play, which helps them to get more exercise. This is so important as obesity levels among primary school kids in particular continue to rise.
Children also let loose by climbing, jumping, scrambling and reaching, helping their muscles and bones to develop, as well as aiding in better sleep.
If a child is anxious or stressed, they are much better able to relax in an outdoor, natural setting like a playground which may be enhanced with playground garden equipment like planters.
“Children need the freedom and time to play. Play is not a luxury. Play is a necessity.” – Kay Redfield Jamison
Children can gain so much in the playground, particularly if their time is enhanced with well-made professional playground equipment.
If you are thinking of designing a playground full of exciting and beautiful play equipment to help your pupils make the most of their break times, take care to choose a trusted playground equipment company who provides safe, durable, well-designed pieces that fall into line with the high standards of your school.