Helping Children to Become Bright Sparks with Play Panels

Thursday, 10th September 2015 12:47 pm

There are three main ways that people learn; visually, auditory and kinaesthetically or more simply through; looking, listening and touching. (Walter Burke Barbe and colleagues).  We tend to learn through elements of all three with a tendency to rely on one particular type of method more than the others.  Teachers try to incorporate each of these learning styles into their lessons so that children can absorb information in the way that is best for them. During classroom-time children learn through listening and speaking, and get very little chance to explore mathematics, literacy and science practically. Teachers therefore, have to incorporate outside areas in their planning to allow children to gain practical experience of the concepts they have talked about.

Structured playground equipment, such as Play Panels, not only provides teachers with equipment that can be used as part of the class lesson; they also provide children with the opportunity to role play what they have learnt during the lesson, using their preferred style of learning. An example of this would be the Weather Station Panel which incorporates a rainfall gauge, thermometer, barometer and hygrometer (measures moisture). As part of a project on the weather, the teacher would be able to use the panel to explain what the instruments are and how to interpret the readings. Children from the class could then take it in turns to record the readings and relay the information back to the class, until they have enough information to show a pattern. Children will be able to access the panel during playtimes and will be able to discuss the readings with their friends, gaining confidence in their ability to interpret the information.

The Clock Panel gives children the opportunity to play around with time and discuss their understanding with their friends. Children can suddenly decide that they want to learn how to do something and if the equipment is available for them to practice, they are likely to learn new skills really quickly. By making time something that can be touched and talked about makes it easier for children who favour a kinaesthetic approach to learning, to grasp the concept of time.  Alternatively, very imaginative children may turn the panel into a time machine and spend playtime exploring a world full of dinosaurs and dragons. Whichever way the children play with the panel they will be basing their play ideas on the concept of time, which is wonderful.

Children with special needs would certainly benefit from having access to play panels because they not only actively encourage social interaction; they allow children to draw on a surface that is strong and stable. The Drawing Window and White Board Play Panels are perfect for interactive play.