Play and Outdoor Learning
Ark Bentworth believes that all children need opportunities to play, which allow them to explore, manipulate, experience and affect their environment.
Ark Bentworth supports The Outdoor Play and Learning (OPAL) Programme rationale that “better, more active and creative playtimes can mean happier and healthier children, and having happier, healthier, more active children usually results in a more positive attitude to learning in school.”
Our approach to play is underpinned by our school values and we believe that playtimes provide the perfect opportunity to teach children about respect, resilience, generosity, honesty, independence and most importantly happiness:
· Play is critical to children’s health and wellbeing, and essential for their physical, emotional, social, spiritual and intellectual development. It teaches our value of happiness.
· Play enables children to explore the physical and social environment, different concepts and different ideas.
· Play enhances children’s self-esteem and their understanding of others through freely chosen social interactions, within peer groups, with individuals, and within groups of different ages, abilities, interests, genders, ethnicities and cultures. It teaches our value of respect.
· Play requires ongoing communication and negotiation skills, enabling children to develop a balance between their right to act freely and their responsibilities to others. It teaches our value of generosity and honesty.
· Play enables children to experience a wide range of emotions and develop their ability to cope with these, including sadness and happiness, rejection and acceptance, frustration and achievement, boredom and fascination, fear and confidence. It teaches our value of resilience.
· Play encourages self-confidence and the ability to make choices, problem solve and to be creative. It teaches our value of independence.
· Play maintains children’s openness to learning, develops their capabilities and allows them to push the boundaries of what they can achieve.
Ark Bentworth began teaching Outdoor Learning following the first lockdown and particpated in a National Lottery Funded project called My School, My Planet. You can read more about the project and the findings: here.
The project showed that spending time outside was extremely benefical for physical health and mental wellbeing.
Year 3, 4 and 5 now have a half a day of Outdoor Learning termly. Additionally, Ark Bentworth participates in Outdoor Classroom Day anually where all classes take at least one lesson outside.