The Majthényi Adolf Primary School in Dvorany nad Žitavou was the institution that was open to becoming a pilot school for the CAPS Project in Slovakia. We held training and workshops with them on playfriendly school criteria, playwork principles and free play. After that, in the 2019/2020 school year, the school introduced playtime into the curriculum (35 minutes after the third lesson). At the end of the school year, we asked the headmistress and one of the free play coordinators about their experiences.
Lívia Szőgyényi, Headmistress, Majthényi Adolf Primary School in Dvorany nad Žitavou
“We love new things that take us forward, that is the reason why we decided to become a pilot school and we did not regret it. In the very beginning, there were a couple of parents who complained because they did not understand the purpose of 35 minutes free play between lessons. Later when these parents saw the results of the free play, they accepted the idea of free play. It is necessary for us to stick to our decision, to stay being a pilot school at least for a year, because it takes time for the children, the educators, and parents to understand, learn, and get used to new concepts. Free play is now very much part of our daily routine, so we definitely want to continue this method in the new school year.”
Veronika Gergely, Coordinator of Playworkers, Majthényi Adolf Primary School in Dvorany nad Žitavou
“The kids were skeptical at first, they were wondering what the catch would be in free play, or how they could outwit the teachers. When they saw, that there was no catch, and the free play was really for them and because of them, they dearly loved it. The older ones helped the smaller ones, there were those who organized games for them, built, walked around, used their creativity. Another benefit of the free play was, that we were in the fresh air a lot, which went well even in the cold winter. It was good not only for the children, but for us teachers too. After playtime it was easier to teach them. What I was mostly afraid of was that the playtime would ruin and break the learning period of the children and we would not be able to came back to teaching and learning. When I experienced that the children concentrated more during the lessons after the playtime, where they had an opportunity to run and play a lot, I calmed down.”
See images from the school’s website: https://majthenyi.edupage.org/album/#gallery/409