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6 school design tips to keep the peace at recess

Having presented her study on ‘Gender Equity in School Grounds’ in 2017 ( , Fatemeh Aminpour from University of New South Wales, discusses the issues of school recreation areas and how they may actually contribute to conflicts between genders and ages at schools, purely because of the recreation area design.

Fatemeh also highlights that vulnerable groups, such as young girls, retreat away from recreation areas in order to avoid rough play or being dominated in play.

One key element contributing to conflict can be multiple games on the same field, resulting in crossover, and a push by stronger groups to dominate the field and move others off.

In her article, Recess is a time of conflict for children. Here are 6 school design tips to keep the peace
Fatemeh offers 6 practical solutions that may help yard duty teachers keep control of play more easily, reduce conflict and even reduce injury:

  1. Offer more than one grassed area
  2. Separate zones for different types of activities
  3. Offer more natural settings
  4. Use physical barriers to separate activities
  5. Allow buffer space to create clear pathways
  6. Ensure all students have a place to play

Contrary to common beliefs, children who retreat to the edges of school grounds are not necessarily “unable” or “unwilling” to take part in play; they are often trying to avoid conflict in the main play zones. Better play area design can help all students participate without conflict.

Read the full article at The Conversation

Author: Fatemeh Aminpour, Associate Lecturer, School of Built Environment, UNSW Sydney