The importance of play in schools - Education Matters Magazine
Beyond the Classroom

The importance of play in schools

Playground designer and manufacturer, Omnitech Playgrounds, discusses the importance of providing challenging and inclusive play spaces for children at school, to foster the development of important life skills.

Omnitech Playgrounds has been involved in the playground industry in Australia for over 30 years, manufacturing and designing a great range of equipment at its factory in Victoria. Using its many years of experience and knowledge, Omnitech can design to suit any school play space and offers a complete servicing package including installation, surfacing, shade, refurbishments and ongoing maintenance.

The complete Omnitech product range has been specifically designed to ensure that developing children are able to extend themselves in a setting that is not only challenging, but also forgiving. The timber and nature play range naturally commands activity in children by providing natural obstacles for them to take on and challenge themselves, with activities such as climbing and balancing. These activities allow for independent discovery, the improvement of physical abilities and help to foster the growth of a child. Omnitech aims to produce a vast range of equipment that encourages children to interact, touch, watch and play using their senses to discover new shapes, textures and experiences.

Working to bring play spaces to life, Omnitech’s in-house design team creates custom solutions for any area, while adhering to Australian playground standards. The company also regularly develops new play equipment to capture the imagination of children with exciting new physical and cognitive challenges that all have one focus in mind – fun!

‘All for play and play for all’ is an important value Omnitech strives to adhere to, by providing play opportunities that are inclusive for children of all abilities. All children have the same desires for fun and excitement and the need for physical challenges, social interaction and intellectual stimulation. These needs are no different for children with disabilities. Omnitech understands how important it is to design a playground that doesn’t isolate disabled children from their peers. The business uses its experience and knowledge to provide playgrounds where children of all abilities can play side by side. Playgrounds can be used as a great way for some children with sensory needs to relieve them in a safe space.

Omnitech has had a close connection with playgrounds in schools for many years, through refurbishments, inspections, maintenance and producing new play equipment. Over this time, it has seen the huge importance playgrounds have on a children’s development and wellbeing. Play is crucial in children’s day to day routines, and schools play a major role in ensuring children get the chance to play.

With child obesity on the rise, there is little disagreement that physical activity needs to be prioritised. Today people have less time for free play and with people moving into overpopulated areas, open space is limited. Children’s free play time at school has thus become vital for the growth and development of important life skills – skills that can help not only in the play space but also in the classroom.

Playgrounds help children learn a vast range of skills including cooperative play, conflict resolution, coordination, communication and taking turns. Each of these skills affect how a child develops into adulthood and helps them to build strong relationships with peers, friends and family.

Playgrounds help children acquire depth perception and risk development through play. Climbing activities, for example, encourage children to figure out how they can get back down through problem solving, and trial and error. Taking risks and trying new things is key to a child’s mental and physical growth. Schools should allow safe risks for children and reduce the chances of ‘cotton wool’ kids. If a child thinks something is unsafe they naturally avoid it or learn from the consequences and know what to do next time – and what not to do.

Upgrading playgrounds is just as important as upgrading classrooms and school buildings, as they too help to shape a child’s development.

With open space increasingly declining in many communities, school provides for an important and safe space for children to play.

Children can learn so much in a play space, discovering their own abilities and limitations. Each child is uniquely different and all deserve the chance to play with their peers regardless of age, background or ability.

Buyer’s Guide
Omnitech Playgrounds
Ph: 1800 812 027

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