Research shows that the nature of children’s play has changed dramatically over the last two decades. Children are now spending significantly less time doing informal physical activity (like climbing or riding a bike) than they spend on screen-based activities. At St Peters Lutheran, we encourage children to inquire in the classroom, but also in our school yard. Natural play spaces are used to inspire, generate curiosity and create imaginative play. A unique part of our school environment, called the Wodlis, does just that!
“The wodli (a Kaurna word for a substantial hut or dwelling place) area is a fantastic play space that encourages creative and imaginative play. When the children are playing in the wodli area they use many different social skills such as negotiating, problem solving and decision making.” said Miss Geue, Year 5/6 teacher. “The wodli area came about back in the first year of the school as a part of a whole school unit on Indigenous cultures. The students were involved in many activities inquiring into Australia’s rich history. On a camp at Aldinga the students learnt how to build a wodli. On their return to school they starting using the existing sticks to make their very own wodli area and that’s what the children have called the play space ever since! In that very first year we even found witchetty grubs in the wodli area!”
The wodlis is a popular place to play at recess and lunch. The children use the sticks for building various sized and shaped shelters. Unstructured free play in nature benefits children in many ways. Nature play improves health and wellbeing and enhances intellectual development. It also helps the children to manage risk, realise achievement, understand responsibility and cope with failure. What an amazing environment the children are immersed in during their school day at St Peters!
Our outdoor play spaces at St Peters Lutheran give the children the opportunity to develop many of the PYP attitudes that form part of the values education at St Peters. Appreciation for the wonder and beauty of the world, creativity in their thinking and approach to solving problems and using cooperation and collaborating with each other as situations arise.