There used to be a time, when the world once offered various kinds of free play to children, they once had access to the world at large; whether it was streets, alleys, or forests, where they were able to interact with the natural world without restriction. Today the lives of children are more structured and supervised. Concerns for safety and with modern housing offering limited or no outdoor play spaces keep children away from natural experiences. When children have free time, it is more often than not spent in front of the television or computers. If children aren't at home they are in schools. Unfortunately school environments are situated in grounds which are uninviting, sterile and isolated from its surroundings; there is little opportunity for children to sense their connection to their nature. The negative affect these uninteresting environments have on pupils, such as aggressive behaviour, bullying and vandalism are apparent in all schools today (Berryman, S.
E., (1991), Designing Effective Learning Environments. ERIC Document 337 689, 1-5). I would therefore like to create an outdoor area, offering an educational and stimulating learning environment, which will be conducted primarily through free play, once again, providing children with crucial interaction with the natural world.
The National Association for the Education of Young Children describes unstructured play as an appropriate outlet for reducing stress (www.naeyc.co.uk). This type of play allows children the opportunity to make choices as well as plan and expand their creativity. In allowing a mental change and release of energy, outdoor activities facilitate subsequent attention to academic tasks and minimise disruptive behaviour (Adams, E (1990) Learning through Landscapes, A report on the development of school grounds).
I aim to base my outdoor area on the children's views, creating an environment which is best suited for them, thus consisting...