What do children like to do the most? Play of course! In the playground before and after school and at break times; it's their favourite time of the day. But play is more: it is also an important opportunity to engage in physical and social activity. It is no secret that children with good playground skills are often the most popular children at school. It is disturbing, therefore, that there are some children who do not, or cannot, take part in common playground activities. They may withdraw or be excluded from the play activities of their peers simply because they do not know how to perform the skills that are needed to take part. Not all children automatically learn the skills they need to be active. Adults, caregivers, play area supervisors and teachers can make a world of difference. Readers of "Let's Play" will assume an important role in ensuring that every child has the opportunity to participate in playground activity. This book is designed to prepare readers to ensure that every child has a repertoire of movement skills to allow them to be active in the playground.
The book includes: a checklist of important activities that children play in nursery, a friendly method to assess the specific skills needed to take part in these activities for children between the ages of 3 and 8, and simple tips for teaching playground skills and games. Social and physical participation in the playground is important to children, for their health, to reduce the likelihood of childhood obesity and to increase the likelihood that they will make friends and become part of the active social groups that form in unstructured free time.
Dr. Watkinson PhD, MA, BPE, BA held administrative positions as Associate Dean Academic, Associate Dean Research, and Chair in the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation at the University of Alberta from 1988-2007. Dr. Watkinson's research focuses on the participation of children in playful physical activity, especially those with disability or movement difficulty. With an overall goal of understanding the factors that contribute to the inclusion of all children in opportunities for physical play, her research programme has explored the role of movement competence, perceptions of self and perceptions of the activity 'climate' in children's decisions to participate on the playground. Most recently, Dr. Watkinson and her students have developed protocols for the identification of children who are not taking part in recess activity and for the subsequent assessment of playground movement competence.
Chapter 1. The Benefits of Free Play; Chapter 2. Encouraging Participation; Chapter 3. Assessing Playground Skills; Chapter 4. Screening with the Playlist; Chapter 5. Targeting Skills for Improvement; Chapter 6. Teaching Playground Skills; Chapter 7. Applying Practice Principles; Chapter 8. Establishing a Positive Motivational Climate; Chapter 9. Teaching a Critical Game: Tag; Chapter 10. Fostering Inclusive Play.