Is your child getting enough outdoor playtime at school?

There is growing awareness around the world about the benefits of building in time for play during kids' break-time at school.

Creative parenting expert, Nikki Bush says research in Finland shows that the allotted time is also important.

For every 45 minutes the children sit in the classroom, they should ideally have 15 minutes' break.

Nikki Bush, Creative parenting expert

She applies this to the typical school day for a South African child.

If you've got a six- to seven-hour day in the classroom, you should be having 90 minutes of break-time during the day.

Nikki Bush, Creative parenting expert

Bush also looks at the reasons why a lot of local schools have shortened breaks - this includes allowing more learning time and trying to manage poor behaviour that often manifests outside of the classroom.

There's been thinking that there needs to be more lesson time for more repetition, for more input so that children can do better academically.

Nikki Bush, Creative parenting expert

But this results in children not having the time to process all that learning, says Bush.

If children don't have down-time where their brains can play with the information coming at them... then there's no time for that message and that learning to land before the next lot of information bombards them.

Nikki Bush, Creative parenting expert

She emphasizes that it's important for kids to get the opportunity to be outside of the formal learning environment to make sense of all this new information.

What this does is allow the brain to connect the new information with old information that's been stored somewhere, and it also gives the brain the opportunity to file this new information in the most appropriate place for easy retrieval at another stage.

Nikki Bush, Creative parenting expert

Global Outdoor Classroom Day takes place on 23 May - an ideal time for South African schools to make use of pleasant autumn weather.

Last year, she says, 3.5-million children in over 100 countries took part in the initiative.

The aim is to make sure that breaks take place outdoors, allowing children 60 minutes of high-quality recess play every day.

For more on Global Outdoor Classroom Day, take a listen:


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