Michael Follett: Making Playtime a key part of the school day

14th June 2016

It’s child’s play is a phrase for something easy. It’s not rocket science is a phrase about something very hard. So here is a question. How come we managed to put men on the moon fifty years ago and yet according to the United Nations, play is disappearing from childhood in most developed countries?

Play used to just happen in childhood. Children had space, they had time and they had adults who let them get dirty, take some risks, be out of view and find some simple objects to play with. This is no longer the case. Children are organised, watched, taught, worked, educated, instructed, entertained and exercised. What they don’t do is go outdoors with friends and direct their own activity, for their own reasons and their own motivations. This maybe partly because many of the places they used to find to play in are now covered in cars, shops houses and roads.

However there is an oasis, a wild-life refuge for childhood where great play could happen. A refuge where there is space, there are children to play with and there is free time without pressure to ‘do something useful’. A typical primary school child spends 1.4 of their seven years in primary school in a time called playtime. This time could be so much better than at present, if only schools understood the value of time to play and what simple steps could make it better. The Empty Classrooms: Making playtime a key part of the school day booklet is based on 15 years of action research in schools on improving play and will help schools get started on making play times amazing. Give it a go, it’s child’s play!

The huge growth in popularity in free-range foods has been driven by concerns about well-being more than flavour. Basically we want to eat happy chickens. When will there be a serious debate about how much time and space outdoors, in a good quality space, a child needs for its well being?

Michael Follett, Director OPAL Outdoor Play and Learning CIC

Check out his e-book: Making Playtime a key part of the school day, written exclusively for Empty Classroom Day

 

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Thank you for supporting Outdoor Classroom Day!

Thanks for joining the movement we can’t wait to see what you get up to on the day! Please share this with your colleagues and friends to help us make it possible for every child to get outdoors to learn and play every day 🙂 Check out the resources tabs for ideas for the day – and to make learning and play part of every day!

Wohoo! Top marks for signing up!

Thanks for joining the movement we can’t wait to see what you get up to on the day! Please share this with your colleagues and friends to help us make it possible for every child to get outdoors to learn and play every day 🙂 Check out the resources tabs for ideas for the day – and to make learning and play part of every day!

Thank you for supporting Outdoor Classroom Day!

We’ll send you a newsletter shortly. Time to play is critical for every child – share your moments with us by tagging #OutdoorClassroomDay and make every day a day to learn and play outdoors!