In a world increasingly dominated by screens and technology, outdoor play plays a very important role in the holistic development of children. Even if we are talking about free play or structured play, the benefits of outdoor play are substantial and offer a multitude of advantages that go far beyond mere recreation.
That is why, at Avenor, our students from Primary have included in the structure of the day a flexible learning block when they can play outside with their colleagues.
”Our commitment at Avenor is to provide a well-rounded and inclusive experience for our students during breaks. Our approach combines active play stations and free play, giving students the freedom to choose activities that resonate with them. It ensures that all students, regardless of their abilities and interests, can participate and feel included. Our goal is to promote teamwork, cooperation, conflict resolution and social skill development through structured activities, while free play encourages spontaneous socialization and creativity.
Another benefit of this approach is that students learn to allocate their break time effectively between structured and unstructured play, enhancing their ability to manage time.
This balanced strategy supports various needs and preferences, contributing to holistic student development.” says Ramona Mucenic, Acting Head of Primary School.
10 active play stations were created and designed purposefully to encourage students to develop creativity and problem solving skills, advance group work and critical thinking skills, build positive relationships and develop strategies for conflict resolution. These play stations are: Sport, Role Play, Board games, Reading Garden, Bits and Bobs (building blocks), Music, Football, Music, Arts and Playground games.
The benefits of this approach to free time spent are:
These play stations are: Sport, Role Play, Board games, Reading Garden, Bits and Bobs ( building blocks), Music, Football, Music, Arts and Playground games.
All resources necessary at every play station are stored in the schoolyard and accessible to students daily, between 12.10 to 1.15 pm. The Teachers on Duty facilitate all active play activities, being assisted by special helpers chosen from upper Primary.
”I am extremely happy to observe how this project has transformed the way in which students spend their leisure time. It’s quite inspiring to see how the students enjoy their free time in a creative, dynamic, and collaborative manner. Each day brings new activities and challenges, and the children are genuinely excited to discover what surprises are in store for them.
What I find wonderful is that they have the freedom to choose which activities to explore, which actively engages them and makes them much happier.
Another remarkable aspect of this project is the involvement of older students in managing the play areas and resources. This not only promotes responsibility but also fosters communication and the building of interpersonal relationships among students of different ages. I joyfully observe how they help each other and how friendships are formed within this program.” – says Paulina Mandache, Teaching Assistant.
All available activities have been chosen specially to appeal to pupils in all of Primary and encourage different age groups to play together.
”Seeing students of all ages playing together and learning from each other is invaluable. If we take the time to listen to students, there is a lot to learn from them. When the project started, and the students were asked what they would like to be included in Active Play, they were eager to share their ideas. From that point on, the students have felt involved, passionate and responsible for the project.
To see students of all ages composing songs together or instructing each other on how to make origami is truly heartwarming.” – says Nikki Ireland, PBL Teacher.
Beyond the involvement and joy that the new games bring into the lives of our primary school students, this approach to leisure time serves as a learning platform that fosters the development of cognitive, social, and emotional skills, as well as abilities with a strong impact on children’s future lives.