Risk and Challenge in School Play

This research paper was published in the Journal of Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning, and is titled: What did schools experience from participating in a randomised controlled study (PLAY) that prioritised risk and challenge in active play for children while at school? 

Undertaken over a two year period, the randomised controlled trial (RCT) aimed to increase physical activity in children by changing the school play environment to one that promoted more ‘risky’ and imaginative play. The trial had a strong focus on encouraging the schools to challenge their traditional and somewhat 'safe' approaches to play by illustrating what unstructured play is for children, and the benefits it has.

'In their interviews the majority of respondents specifically mentioned relaxing rules, and this had multiple consequences for the schools depending on the rules they had decided to address. Through analysis it became apparent that there might be a linear pathway in which relaxing rules created an environment with more opportunities and that these opportunities were then expressed in play by what children can do and where they can play. The creation of a more permissive environment enabled children to be able to do things they could not do before the PLAY Study, and the principals and other school leaders enthusiastically embraced this:'

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