It may look like scraps to you, but there’s a new program at KPS that is turning all sorts of things into ‘positive play’. Melissa Hayes, who has driven this project from its inception in 2013, tells us more –
Students and staff have totally embraced the ‘Positive Play’ program introduced last term. Several years ago our school became aware of the need for a program to cater for students who were not interested in sporting activities, to have alternative options during recess and lunch. The ‘Play for Life’ program idea was born and after research and planning we now have an array of recycled loose parts known as ‘Pod Scrap’. The Pod is placed in the schoolyard to provide open-ended, self-directed play during the playtime breaks.
In 2013, I presented the idea to a few students in my Year 5 class. Daniel, Maya and Stella loved the concept, so much so that they enthusiastically took on the challenge of researching and promoting this project. They were so passionate that they surveyed students and developed ideas about how this program would run at Kew Primary.
In the following years students, teachers and parents have continued to plan and support this initiative. As a school we engaged ‘Early Life Foundations’ to conduct a playground audit and provide professional development for the staff.
Finally, we were ready to build a shed, order a truckload of equipment and slowly introduce the ‘Kids Shed’ to the students during class sessions. One huge benefit of this program is that it is student led. Our senior students have been trained to distribute and pack away the equipment. This gives them the opportunity to interact with all students within the school. The way these students conduct themselves, is very impressive, displaying excellent communication skills, compassion and responsibility.
We are very excited to provide a new way to play, be creative and for students to problem solve with friends. ‘Positive Play’ allows students to be physically active, inclusive and build resilience. It also encourages students to assess and manage risks for themselves. Using a variety of materials students are encouraged to play, imagine, create and challenge themselves. By playing with peers, children develop social skills and build strong relationships, which lead to positive feelings of happiness and belonging.
In the last couple of weeks we have asked the students to submit ideas on what they would like to call this program. It has had many temporary names in the past! Next week this will be announced at assembly.
In 2017 we will introduce the program during lunchtimes, with the assistance of senior students and staff. This will coincide with the landscaping of the play space at the far end of the oval and further enhance the creative play area.