Boys and their play

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Wander through our Boys’ Junior School playground, and you can’t miss the creative, unique and much loved ‘cubbies’ built by many of our boys. While these are a great source of fun, the boys are probably unaware that the building of them, and playing in them, is helping their development.

We know that boys love to use their hands, and kinaesthetic play is important for them, and Danish research has shown that  giving children the space to take supervised risks and explore boundaries results in them demonstrating greater social capability, having fewer days off sick, more ability to concentrate and better co-ordination…”

In Britain, there is a surge of new Early Childhood  Centres being designed based on the Denmark Forest Kindergarten model, where natural, ‘unstructured’ play has developmental benefits. Many experts say the need for such outdoor play has never been more urgent: a report last month revealed British children are among the most housebound and screen addicted in the world, with three in four spending less time outdoors than the recommended daily period of outdoor exercise for prisoners – and more than half being unable to identify a British oak tree.

When on duty, watching the boys carry their sticks and delicately stack them on the cubby roofs, I do feel like saying “Be careful”, or ‘watch out”…but that would be making them feel that the play is dangerous, and restricting their own development of care and independence…watching from ‘afar’, while still ensuring everyone is safe, and allowing them to learn and interact without a teacher ‘helicoptering’ over them is far more satisfying!

A Kenny

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