A Whole School Approach

Becoming a play-friendly school requires a whole school approach across the whole school community including children, teaching staff, non-teaching staff and families/carers. It is not a bolt-on addition to what schools already offer, it is an integral aspect of school life. It requires changes to the school ethos and culture, and to the organisation of time and space. Recognising, respecting and promoting children’s right to play operates not only at dedicated play times but also in the classroom and throughout the school day. Playing and learning are not opposite ends of a continuum, they are part and parcel of each other. Whilst recognising the importance of instructional teaching, playful relationships (the use of humour, tolerance for ambiguity) and playful pedagogies (the use of playful methods for active learning) can help create effective learning environments and the emergence of creativity and divergent thinking.[1]


[1] Tegano, D. W. (1990) ‘Relationship of tolerance of ambiguity and playfulness to creativity’, Psychological Reports, 66(3), pp. 1047-1056; Tobin, K., Ritchie, S.M., Oakley, J.L., Mergard, V. and Hudson, P. (2013) ‘Relationships between emotional climate and the fluency of classroom interactions’, Learning Environments Research, 16(1), pp. 71-89; Mardell, B., Wilson, D., Ryan, J., Ertel, K., Krechevsky, M. and Baker, M. 2016) Towards a Playful Pedagogy, available at http://pz.harvard.edu/sites/default/files/Towards%20a%20Pedagogy%20of%20Play.pdf