When my kids were at kindergarten, the busiest corner of the kinder room was where the ‘construction’ took place – boxes, hundreds of metres of tape, bits of foam, milk bottle lids and string were the starting point of some marvelous creations. Take that same ‘the-sky’s-the-limit’ concept and scale it up. And then take it outside. That’s what KPS’s Positive Play project is all about.
Grade One teacher, Melissa Hayes, and a group of Grade Six students (Katherine, Lucy, Stella, Nathan, Daniel, Maya, Daichi, Genna and Ebony) have been investigating ways of making recess and lunchtime a little more ‘creative’. Their project is called Positive Play and is inspired by programs such as Play for Life, that focus on creating opportunities for rich, open-ended and self directed play in the playground.
Grade Six student, Daniel, explained how the project came about – “Some people, like me, don’t want to play sport at lunchtime. We want to do more creative stuff but that’s harder than it sounds.”
Maya added, “The less sporty kids haven’t got much to do during playtime and students were trying to build their own cubby houses and other things out of stuff that wasn’t really meant for playing with!”
Recognizing that lots of kids wanted to spend their recess time building, creating and crafting, Melissa Hayes began looking for ways to channel their enthusiasm. Similar projects in other schools have used raw materials such as tyres, plastic tubing, cardboard, planks of wood and large pieces of foam as a starting point and the kids take it from there, constructing, designing spaces or even dressing up. The Grade Six team talked excitedly of commandeering the back corner of the oval and painting the fence with chalkboard paint so that they could draw ‘backdrops’ for whatever is built with the raw materials – a flexible, theatre-like space.
While the focus of the Positive Play project is on creating new opportunities at recess and lunchtime, the Grade Six team identified lots of ways that the resources could be used in an ‘outdoor classroom’ situation including for obstacle courses in PE, as part of performing arts, and for numerous class activities that require group work and co-operation.
Positive Play is just getting started (but I think we can all recognise a brilliant idea when we see one!). A playground audit and a play development strategy detailing the equipment/ space/ staff and student education required are the first tasks and will hopefully be completed this year. Despite the fact that the Grade Six team driving Positive Play may not see the project come to fruition, they are keen to leave a legacy – “After all, we have younger siblings at the school and they’ll get to use it,” said Stella.
When asked about how they would feel if the project does get up and running, Genna summed it up perfectly, saying “Look after it and have fun.” A good rule for so many things, don’t you agree?!
If you would like to make a philanthropic donation to the Positive Play project, you may do so via the school’s Fees & Donations TryBooking page, where the project is listed as ‘Play for Life’.