New school playground promotes physical activity


In the autumn of 2006, H. C Andersen School in Odense, Denmark opened a new playground. The staff and students are thrilled with it, and it has led to increased physical activity and fewer conflicts among students since opening.

The manager of the school's after-school programme was well aware of the important of breaks providing physical activity when she took on the role of coordinator for the playground group. From the very beginning, she involved the children in the process of choosing the right equipment - with the professional guidance of a KOMPAN Play Consultant. Architect Gerda Vaaben was responsible for designing the playground itself - a real challenge due to the long and relatively narrow site with neighbours very close by.

Today, the playground has amply demonstrated its value in terms of both physical activity and social interaction. PE and maths teacher Thomas Dreisig says: "As a PE teacher I can see that the playground makes a big difference. It acts as an obstacle course and it's like the playground Olympics out there". He continues: "The students practice their basic motor skills when they play on the equipment. And there are variations and challenges all over the place."

Mr Dreisig has lots of ideas for making the most of the playground, both as a tool for promoting health and as a teaching aid: "Here at H. C. Andersen School, we work with a number of different teaching styles. For example, the Supernova can be used to teach circles to the youngest students, and PE lessons can be held on the playground. I think we will see a difference in the attitude of the more confrontational children if we make more use of the playground in our teaching."

Outside, the playground is teeming with swinging, skipping, singing and ball-playing children. And whatever they learn, they learn it with their entire body - and with a smile on their face.

Fast facts

Location: Odense, Denmark


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