Play and learning

KOMPAN Play Institute

Increasingly research concludes that physical activity and cognitive alertness are intertwined. When children are physically active, they often prove to be better at learning and managing well at school. Some surveys suggest that certain classes can be traded for free play outdoors without harming academic performance. In fact, academic performance benefits from physical activity.

Many studies are still being conducted in this field, but one thing is certain: children need to be emotionally balanced to learn in the first place. Play is a highly effective means of gaining or regaining emotional balance in children.

Children learn in school, but they also learn in life. Take motor skills, which tend to be under-challenged today due to sedentary lifestyles, but which really comprise the fundamentals for other learning. The same applies to "life skills", which include an understanding of nature and social skills. Teachers talk about a deficit of emotional intelligence in many children. Playground play stimulates life skills, as children learn how to share and exchange, how to be tolerant, and how to deal with conflicts.

Because children learn differently and have different cognitive capacities at different age stages, playground planners need to consider the exact age group they are planning for.

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