Perks of Public Education: O= Outside Playtime

I have discussed outdated materials as the letter O for concerns of public education. My perk for O is also somewhat of a concern. In this article I will describe how O for outside play can be a perk and a concern varying from school to school.

At my school, outside playtime is a perk. Each day the entire student body, except for kindergarten because ours is separate, has a fifteen-minute recess. If the weather is nice the recess is outdoors. If the weather does not allow, the recess is held inside in the classrooms. However, under good weather conditions, the children have an opportunity to play outside. Many teachers, especially primary grades, have another break period of outside time during the day.

At other schools, outside playtime is a concern. Some schools frown upon taking students outside to play. The only time that is spent playing is during physical education. Many physical education teachers now follow a curriculum and conduct organized sports or activities indoors. The children no longer have free play during the physical education time period. Therefore, the children at these schools are not getting nay free time to play outdoors, or indoors for that matter.

I do not disagree that a teacher should not spend a large portion of the day letting the children free play. However free play outdoors is a very important part of a child’s life. Through free play outdoors with other children, a child can learn social skills and problem solving techniques. Sit back and watch a group of children organize a game of kick ball with the aid of an adult. They can do it. Tasks such as this are teaching children important life skills.

Children can also develop imaginations. It is amazing what children can do with a plastic bottle and rocks. I often see my students running around the playground together talking and shouting about pirates, princesses, and more.

Outside play can also increase fine and gross motor skills and help keep children in good physical condition.

Outside free play with a group of children is an important part of growing up. In some schools outside time is a perk and in others it is a concern.

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