It is the start of the school year again! For sure, primary school students are so excited to meet new teachers, reconnect with classmates and friends, and get oriented with different subject areas. But aside from these enthused preliminaries, one thing that kids love to do at Keys is exploring different corners of the campus. You might be thinking: What is at the top of the students’ “Let’s Explore” list? Certainly, it is the Keys playground!
School playgrounds are generally fun! Who would say no to slides and swings? But the Keys playground goes beyond mere fun. There is a good reason why it is an integral aspect of the school.
As a progressive school, Keys works toward students’ holistic development, aiming at children's cognitive abilities, character, and physical health enrichment. To supplement how the learners are being honed in the classroom, the Keys playground is indeed a rich physical environment where the kids can put into “play” their whole self.
Teacher Monique Javier-Dizon, the Preschool Coordinator of Keys, shares her insights regarding the role of the campus playground in child development. She states, “One of the non-negotiables in children, especially early child development, is the opportunity for them to play and work outdoors. Having a playground that they have access to provides honing of their motor skills; it allows them to explore their big movements and enhances mobility. Being in the playground allows children to be at their most natural state and this is an excellent opportunity to let them learn, socialize, problem solve, and many more!” That is why here at Keys, part of the school’s daily schedule is Outdoors Time. This is a 30-minute block where kids are given a breather from academic activities by socializing with their friends and stretching their muscles! As Teacher Ciab Canoy, Grade 3 Classroom Teacher, remarks, “I appreciate how the Keys playground serves not only as a welcome break for our students, from the everyday academic rigors of classes, but that it supports the different investigations and inquiries that we encourage in our subjects. I have witnessed a lot of beautiful moments in our playground, from students working together and deepening their friendships, to teachers reconnecting with former students and making new memories with their new students.”
Since the school year just kicked off, kids are surely welcome to (re)discover the unique features of the playground. Upper Primary Math Coordinator and Grade 5 Classroom Teacher Pam Bergado shares that the best part of this feature is the imaginary playground. “Apart from the built-in playground parts (swing, slide, treehouse), Keys features an imaginary playground where kids can build their own structures out of their mind’s eye.” Teacher Monique builds up on this aspect: “Undoubtedly, the large tree that hangs over the playground is the best feature of our outdoor play area. Its wide shiny green leaves provide shade and a calmness to the area.”
The Keys playground opens an avenue for kids to experience different learning opportunities that are aligned to the school’s progressive philosophy in education. According to Teacher Ciab, “The Keys playground supports the progressive philosophy of learning through experience, exploration and collaboration in a fun, age-appropriate way. With the different activities that our students engage in our playground, they are able to learn actively through hands-on engagement. It promotes freedom of choice and communication, encourages creativity and fosters problem solving as well, which are all attributes that Keys values.” Teacher Monique goes even more specific, “The Keys playground is open ended. At times, the children use it as forts, hiding places, and battlegrounds. Children are able to add to it and tweak its features according to what their play might be for that day. It represents an openness to endless possibilities and not a predetermined outcome.”
Keys ensures that the campus playground is a learning space where children thrive mentally, socially, and physically. So, come and see how kids explore the Keys playground!