In the Philippines, the dilemma of most preschools is space. Most specially, the space allotted for outdoor play or the school playground. Most of the schools I visited had limited playground elements for their outdoor play area. One school does not even have outdoor play time daily because of the lack of space. One suggestion of the Department of Education, which they included in their DECS Order No. 107 “Standard for the Organization and Operation of Preschools” is:
“Space for playground must be provided, otherwise, easy and safe access to the nearest part or open space not more than 200 meters walking distance from the school site may be presented as an alternative. This arrangement must be approved in writing by the authorized representatives of the park or open space.”
The playground in our school is composed of monkey bars, slides and jungle gyms placed on an area covered with sand to break the imminent trips and falls. Two containers of water are nearby for water play. Plants are all around for shade.
Outdoor play time is often thought of as unimportant however, there are a lot things a child can learn from playing outdoors. Children as young as toddlers and thorugh the primary years much prefer the adventure or creative playground, spaces that have a variety of fixed and movable equipment (Campbell & Frost, 1985).
What can a child learn in playing outdoors? Watch out for the next post…