At Playforce we believe that outdoor play is an essential part of childhood, so with school and playground closures over the last year many children will have spent several months away from school, classrooms and playgrounds. For many children access to school-based outdoor space is the only opportunity they have to run, jump, climb and learn outdoors.
The press has been full of stories about the impact on children of playground closures outside of school, as well as the role schools play in delivering learning and supporting wellbeing, but what about the impact the removal of outdoor learning and playtime has had on children? Has this had an impact on obesity and fitness levels? Has it made a difference to the many other areas of development we know that it supports, such as social skills, mental health and general learning? What provision is being made for the absence of outdoor learning and play when children return to school? Does the impact of COVID-19 go beyond the classroom?
So in February 2021 we talked to a number of school teachers about the impact that COVID-19 has had on their children in terms of fitness, wellbeing and learning, specifically looking at the role of outdoor play and learning.