Research from University College London’s Institute of Education has shown that between 1995 and 2019, the amount of break time afforded to children between the ages of 5 and 7 had reduced by 45 minutes per week. More recently, the pandemic, and the consequent school closures, has left many children without the opportunity to play at all.British Psychological Society, 2021 (source)
Play offers benefits to children’s well-being and is essential for their physical, social and emotional development. But over the years, the time assigned for play in the school day has been eroded. The British Psychological Society has launched the Time to Play campaign, which is calling for additional time for play at school every day.
To support this campaign, please visit the dedicated page from the BPS.
Obviously, this is about Primary School education. Early Years settings like ourselves tend to take a different approach, whereby play is more prominent. But the fine balance between structured teaching and play shifts quite abruptly in Primary education, which adds another layer of complexity into the transition from nursery schooling to a primary school setting.
Play is at the heart of what we do at Alphablocks Nursery School. In fact, play in all its forms — that is, both indoors and outdoors, both structured and unstructured, either teacher-led or child-led — is a central tool in our hybrid teaching approach. It’s absolutely central to our ethos as an educational setting.
Here are some of our previous posts on the subject:
- The fine balance between teaching and play
- Outdoor play opportunities and early learning
- Forest School Sessions – methods & benefits