How I teach - A divide-and-rule play plan

Splitting playgrounds into zones can aid childhood development

We used to have a pretty normal playground set-up at our pre-preparatory school in Sao Paolo. But, back in 2010, we decided to revolutionise it.

In order to allow more opportunities for play, exploration, creativity and critical thinking, which are key to childhood development, we addressed the quality of provision for play in our school grounds.

Over several months, the staff met frequently. Using the book Positive Playtimes: exciting ideas for a calmer school (Jenny Mosley and Georgia Thorp, 2005), we shared ideas on how to transform the playground into a more child-friendly and play-orientated space.

Eventually, we came up with a plan. We would adapt the playground to provide areas in which children could play freely, but we would also include zones focused on different types of play and exploration. We settled on 12 zones:

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