Stimulating creative play in early childhood: Lospalos playspaces project
A beautiful mini garden created by children in Lospalos
In a new initiative Many Hands is seeking to promote development in early childhood through the provision of creative places for play.
Whereas spaces for creative play are the norm in schools, kindergartens and other public places in the developed world, in countries like Timor this is not yet the case. Whilst children in Timor Leste have ample time to play outside school hours, the crucial learning experiences of play in education could be better supported in a country with very few preschool or primary school playgrounds.
Creative outdoor play is very important for children’s development. Playgrounds help children develop coordination, peak bone density and strength and generally contribute to the fitness of children by promoting physical exercise. Through the sense of physical mastery that comes from negotiating playground equipment, children also develop self-esteem. Socially, playgrounds help children learn important life skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, communication, cooperation and leadership. These skills are fundamental to educational attainment and participation in the workforce. At a most basic level, playgrounds create joy by providing children with an opportunity to engage in creative outdoor play, whether by themselves, with friends and/or with family.
Many Hands is looking to provide the opportunity for structured creative outdoor play for the children of Lospalos, by supporting the development of two small playspaces: a playground at Esperansa Kindergarten in central Lospalos and a children’s garden at the Lautem Cultural Centre. Until the project began, there were no boundaries to the play area, and very little shade at the pre-school, which means parents and teachers are reluctant to even let children outside, and outdoor play is not yet a part of their routine.
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