The Power of Play – Let the Adventure Begin!

Last Updated on : 20th September 2018

Putney High School GDST is championing a return to adventurous outdoor play with a brave and exciting new Junior playground, encouraging risky, imaginative play.

The modern tendency to wrap children in cotton wool has meant that today, imaginative outdoor play plays second fiddle to the limitless temptations of virtual play indoors, but there are huge benefits to daring activities in the outdoors:

– Hanging on ropes and monkey bars develops young muscles and improves balance and coordination, teaching young children about limits and going beyond them, and building their curiosity and confidence – essential skills for learning which they then take back with them into the classroom.

– Fear and adrenalin are fundamental to both survival and human development. Learning to handle an acceptable degree of physical risk is healthier for children than the unknown, insidious dangers of the online world.

– Adventurous, risky play allows children to practise independent reflection and decision-making and to learn and challenge their limits. Vital skills for the adults of tomorrow.

Head of Junior School, Pippa Page-Roberts said, “A grazed knee is a far more powerful learning experience than simply being told you might fall over if you do not take care. As adults, the thrill-seekers among us will know that climbing high and whizzing fast can give us a rush of adrenalin that is hard to beat. It should be no surprise that the same is true for children from a very early age”.

Putney’s new adventure playground was built over the summer, creating areas for pupils to challenge themselves and to enjoy different types of play: exploratory, social, physical and imaginative. Children were at the very heart of the decision-making process, sharing ideas and views on how to design an environmentally-friendly, ‘natural’ space, but above all, one where they could take risks and challenge themselves, unafraid to try new things.

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