Thursday, November 17, 2016

Learning Centers Blog Hop Series: Playground & Recess

Hooray for "playground & recess!" Welcome back to the final part of the Pre-K Partner's Learning Centers Blog Hop Series So far we have taken a look at the math, writing, art, blocks, science centers, dramatic play, and tech centers. This week we will take a look at what learning looks like during recess! 

I have taught at a few different churches, learning centers, and public schools over the years and each has been different. Some had gravel, mulch, or rubber flooring. Some had huge areas some were small. But basically, most all of the buildings had a play yard with a jungle gym, slides, and climbing areas. At the school I last taught at we were fortunate enough to have a new building with a (size appropriate) jungle gym specifically made for younger children. 

We also had gardening areas, a dinosaur dig, outdoor easel painting, music area, outdoor block building, tricycles, scooters, soccer, sidewalk chalk drawing, AND sand tables! 

The garden area...

I once taught at a school that had an indoor koi pond/indoor was an amazing learning opportunity for the students!

Upkeeping a school garden does take a lot of work. If you don't have the means to create a raised garden, I encourage you to keep a couple of potted plants outside. It's always fun for students to observe a little while at recess! 

Students headed out to the recess play yard and were so excited when they found something new growing in the garden!

The dino dig area... So many social skills, friendships, and relationships were built here! Plans, creativity, and conversations were being constructed almost constantly. 

The music area...

Recess & playground time encourage: 

- gross/locomotor skills
- hand/eye coordination
- balance/coordination/stability
- spatial awareness
- friendships and relationships
- social skills

I believe the most important environment/materials to have for a playground are:

- an appropriately sized jungle gym
- something for children to climb on
- large play space for running/playing games

Extra materials might include:

- kick balls, soccer balls, soccer goals
- wiffle ball sets for throwing and catching
- tricycles or scooters
- hula hoops

Some areas you might consider adding: 

- flower, vegetable, or herb gardens
- outdoor painting easels
- outdoor block building area
- sand/water tables
- dinosaur or sand digging area
- balance beams
- running track 
- playhouse 

Also, it would be helpful to have a gross motor room or extra area. We used our gross motor room daily as an additional recess time and on rainy days when we couldn't go outside! 

Materials for suggested for this room would be: 

- wiffle ball sets
- bean bag toss games
- hopscotch rugs
- hula hoops 
- floor scooters
- jump ropes
- basketballs and hoops
- parachute

The teachers role during playground/recess time is to:

- monitor safety and behavior
- model games, activities, and equipment
- observe student to student interactions and learning
- interact with students through conversations and play
- encourage play, creativity, and movement

Hop on over to Fun in ECSE to see more about the playground/recess areas!

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