Play is a vital part of developing a child’s learning and wellbeing. Learning through play allows children to develop social, physical and emotional skills as they learn, socialise, build relationships, problem-solve and collaborate. The new outdoor learning area at Shortland is allowing its students to do just that.
The new play areas include a sand pit, climbing walls, wooden stage, a shop front and a mud kitchen, which provides for plenty of imaginative play opportunities.
Students can engage in more physical play and develop their strength with the tyres and ropes on the climbing walls, they can build, construct, stack and sort in the sandpit and rock garden/dry creek river bed or delve into their acting skills with the stage.
“Outdoor environments offer a blend of natural areas, environmental features and loose parts to interest children in play and learning,” said Kim Moroney, Education Officer (Early Learning) at the Catholic Schools Office.
“These spaces are often unstructured open-ended which encourage self-determined play.
“Providing children with an outdoor learning environment that incorporates areas for quiet, natural, creative, active and stimulating play will allow children to learn whilst using their imagination.
“It allows children to be spontaneous, active and creative and provides something for children of all ages, capabilities and needs.”
“Since students started using the spaces I have seen them interacting around tables sharing ideas and listening to stories,” said Gerry Vandermaat, Principal of Our Lady of Victories.
“I have seen students testing their strength climbing up walls and role playing in the shop front and mud kitchen; I have seen students digging to the other side of the world using their creative minds to explore and present themselves on the stage – the opportunities are endless.”