Playtime at Beaconsfield P.S.
Dinosaur Dig opens:
Life is great with a little adventure in it and it’s hard to beat dinosaurs when it comes to imagination and adventure. Local artist Andrea Hopgood was commissioned by School Council to create this adventure in a sandpit located between the two top portables and the children have been digging away enthusiastically ever since. What was a scruffy and somewhat muddy little wasteland has been given a new lease of life and the children have enjoyed their Dino sandpit.
A big thanks to Trish White, who coordinated works in my absence, Guy Pourre for his brilliant decking design and construction, Peter Mills and Glenn Douglas for additional works, concreting and lifting, School Council for their funding and encouragement and the amazing Andrea Hopgood for her inspirational sculptures and design works! Our Beacy kids are so lucky to have everyone in our school community supporting them and creating these beautiful learning and play areas.
Play is the principal means for children to engage and interact with the world as it assists their physical, social, emotional and cognitive development. So much of children’s lives and leisure time nowadays is highly structured, and there are many children who spend nearly every afternoon, playing sport, drama classes, swimming, dancing, playing computer games or otherwise engaged in other structured activities.
Our Wetlands area is an excellent example of how important unstructured play is very important in developing skills. The children can use the natural materials around them to build cubbies and shops (acorns are the currency here) and their play is important in developing their language and social skills, developing creativity, building confidence and resilience. The “free play” has other benefits too as children use their experiences to explore their physical environment and their social environment, making friends, learning co-operative skills, building their confidence and their imagination.
Classroom Teachers use structured and unstructured play to develop and engage their students. There are free play activities built into programs each week, but sometimes guided play can be used to stimulate imagination and hook kids into their learning. Last week, Mrs. De Villiers took her Yr. 1 students out to the pirate ship for a great piratical rumbustification.
Where free play is unstructured and follows the child’s interest, guided play in this classroom was used as a stimulus to imagination, writing and language development. However, there were many other beneficial outcomes such as building confidence, developing a sense of belonging to the group and sharing a joy filled experience with friends. We certainly appreciate the efforts of staff in building these experiences for our students.
Gary Methven – Principal