Schools are expected to cater for children’s life skills as well as their academic skills.
Well designed play areas are learning fields for, in particular, children’s social and physical skills. A growing number of children lead sedentary life styles and need support and direction for their social behaviour.
The World Health Organisation recommends that children above the age of 5 years train their motor skills, condition, bone density and strength, specifically their arm, leg and core muscles. The age appropriate school play area offers varied opportunities for physical activity to motivate children, including less agile children, to be active in a self-directed and fun way.
Social interaction will be strong in well-planned school areas, and teachers report that social skills such as waiting for your turn are hard to teach, but easy for children to adapt to when in the playground. Guided or instructed activities and teaching may very well take place in the playground, too. A school playground planned meticulously to support free, guided and instructed play can offer all children a varied and motivating learning experience. Last, but not least, it can be an inspiring educational tool for teachers, fully providing active learning experiences aligned with the curriculum.