Improve even the nonentities: a utopia?
In the past we have tried different solutions to overcome educational failures. More teachers and supervisors more financial and material resources, simplified syllabus and examinations, shorter schedules, personal lessons, or repeat a year…Alas, none of these tests have generated any significant improvements.
The way teachers communicate culture is excellent and is never call into question. A majority of pupils succeed. In fact, it seems that the source of the failure (this pupils without diploma), is not due to school, but to a bad societal and familiar background.
Society has to interfere, not the teachers who are not social workers. To improve these pupils who start with a serious handicap, school must create a “new society”, bringing new hopes and values. A new way of life for these children will regenerate them. Then the teachers just have to take over and drive them to success.
However, if we want this pupil to integrate and spend entire days in this new scholar society; school must love him and do not discriminate him. Obviously, school must be appealing to children. Games are attractive and children love them: they are naturally players.
Neurologist found out that between a “passive” and a “stimulated” rodent exist big differences: the dentate gyrus, a special part of the brain dedicated to memory and learning, is double if it is stimulated. In addition, this observation is, relatively speaking, also valuable for children as said in Latin motto :
mens sana in corpore sano
Developing his body means developing also the brain. Attractive and intense body dynamics will also increase their intellectual faculties.
At school, the only place where the child can move is the playground. Moreover, it is there precisely where he should be able to relax, enjoy, invent new games and to forget all the stress of listening and learning in a classroom.
The playground should be a wonderful place where the pupils would be happy to regenerate themselves and act quite freely.
However, in an empty playground, the child does not have any creative choice and this emptiness can guide him to idleness, melancholia, and even violence.
Freedom only exists and is reveal if the child can express himself, make decisions, and accomplish his wishes.
To teach writing to scholars, teachers, despite his know-how, could not achieve anything if pencils and paper was not providing to pupils.
Alas, there are sometimes swings, slides, climbing ramps, balance courses that offer poor options to children.
Adults design these games with one purpose: the child cannot do anything else as repeating the same action all day long: sliding, climbing… and do not allow him to try anything else.
The child finds it repetitive and irritating, and finally thinks only to get free of these boring activities.
Nevertheless, because the school has to become more attractive by adding new games, providing that the child’s freedom is preserve; a survey carry out among decision makers advocates that games must also be:
- not expensive (to buy, to install and be functional)
- generate an intense and lasting action
- good for health and progress
- well aging
Children who are “customers and users” want beautiful games and want to decide how funny they are. So to say, we must put in the playground games they choose, they enjoy with, and that follow their wishes.
The purpose is to make them happy to find at school what they really dream about, and then they will be improving by the new playground.
However, we cannot think now about introducing a game in a playground without assessing its environmental impact. A wooden game means deforestation, a stowing for the stability, a shaping that can leave dangerous hurting pieces, and a painting because children like bright colours, that’s make it impossible to recycle. In addition, burning the wood produces carbon dioxide.
With polyethylene, made of natural product as oil, heated by a double rotation with infrared lamps, and so without pollution, we can produce games. These are resistant, tinted, not coated, with soften shapes, not poisonous, treated against ultra-violet ray, last a long time, it just need to be washed from time to time. Overall, they are 100% recyclable.
The technical-ecological aspect of the material used for the game is too abstract to be educational for children: a rainy drainpipe goes into water collector topping a tank filled up with top soil; the all set is made of polyethylene.
The year long, pupils will follow the growth of the seeds planted in the tank; they will water them with the collected rainwater. Therefore, they can harvest the vegetables they eat, and pick up the flowers that embellish their life.
Through this daily illustration, children perceive the interest of saving precious natural resources like water which give them life and value. They understand the purpose of ecology; appreciate better the huge plant that decorates their playground.
Safety is a major concern. It begins by an absolute respect of standards that law requires for games that should be accredit by a laboratory.
If a child falls down from his seat or hits a wall, he can break an arm or leg: zero risk does not exist. To reduce the danger, as speed that is limited on a road, all games have a maximum high of 60cm in case of fall, and have security standards issued by LNE.
Schools are on a tight budget so the cost of the games must stay low. Usually, it includes the purchase, transportation, installation, maintenance and recycling. Therefore, the individual swing as a cost of:
- 1. purchase of the swing
- 2. transportation from manufacturer to school
- 3. study of the location and the cushioning floor on the playground by a control office
- 4. travelling expenses of the control office
- 5. excavation for the foundation of the swing and floor-damping device receiving the cushioning slabs
- 6. cast of reinforced concrete foundation of the swing and slabs
- 7. draining of the cushioning floor edges
- 8. supply and transportation of the cushioning slabs
- 9. laying of the slabs
- 10. installation and placing of the swing
- 11. check and travelling expenses of the control office for the final approval
- 12. compliance certification by the control office
- 13. after the installation, visit by the control office for the annual obligatory certification
- 14. periodical visits to check the tightening and fastening, the painting…
- 15. periodical change of cushioning slabs
- 16. cost of the swing’s destruction
- 17. refurbishment of the ground
- 18. recycling (only for metal)
- 19. the wooden part of the swing will get the painting of or be burned, and produce greenhouse gases.
Therefore, the amount needed for one swing installation multiplies the price of the swing itself. Same for the other games as slides…
If we choose a game made of polyethylene, with a maximum high of 60cm from the ground and 2m far to any obstacle, so to avoid any accident for a
child, the set can be place directly on the playground. It will be stabilise by adding 50 to 100 l of sand into a hole secures by a special plug.
To avoid children scratches due to a hard floor, it can be optionally cover by a quiet inexpensive synthetic carpet (1,5m width) all around.
Therefore, besides the cost of transport and supply, you have got nothing to spend for installation, maintenance, recycling and no wasting time due to installations.
Therefore, games used by 10 children can be bought for the same price as the cost of a single swing.
If you give a look at the budget of a collector-set, it is possible to collect yearly an average of 6o cubic meter of rainwater. That is making possible to save in 3 years only, the cost of the water used for cleaning the floors, almost the price of the collector! So we can save almost 200 or 300 euro on the yearly water bill.
However, it is also an example to teach children how to save their finance and to become good ecologists, them, and their families, by promoting rainwater and giving to their future houses a good isolation.
If a child does not like a game, he will not play with. Therefore, it is no reason to put it on a playground. If we talk about games such as slides, swings, with an ephemeral attraction; the result will be inefficient. To keep a longer enthusiasm to children, games should not be impose but only help him to improve his creativity, and be pleasant and sympathetic. Therefore, the game motivates and energises his freedom, which goes with his rebellious nature and the need to express himself.
This freedom gives to the pupil ideas to commit himself into a game, with his own rules, according to his desires and abilities.
According to his imagination, his desires will always be unlimited; the child action will be increasing all the time; so as the game which, imposing nothing, allows then everything.
Let us take ball as an example:
We use it as we want and as we can, with hands and feet; and nothing is imposed. This entire freedom gives to the ball a specific attraction. It is an interactive game!
However, a football field covers more than 1 hectare, which means 500 square meter per player. The “urban” playground is too small and does not allow playing football or basketball. In addition, when a “rural” playground allows it, then it will be no room for other children who do not play football.
Anyway, for a child, the ideal player is the one who scores!
Nevertheless, if the playground gets a measured space, one child can always find 5 square meter so that a football player can shoot a goal with 30 times less space than the 500 square meter necessary on an usual football field
It is possible by placing 3 concentric vertical panels that will absorb shoots and send them back to the player through a slightly inclinatory panel.
Therefore, the player can multiply his shoots without wasting time. Same for the basketball or any ball games that give actions to children, their gesture are continuously stopped by these balls running back towards them: to throw is their favourite part of the game.
Other games improve also strongly the children action, by respecting their freedom and encouraging them to make personal choices.
Shapes are also important: such as basic geometric volumes, spheres, cones, pyramids, cubes; all very colourful and attractive ,so that they always will try to take them and create their own way of playing with.
Every game is possible with these enjoyable volumes!
Then they can build infinite balance courses with simple rings that they have themselves adjust.
The maze can be turn into a happy meeting place for friends, with a lot of entrances, like a multicoloured and shimmering kaleidoscope, ever changing and leaving always children at ease.
Even a banal stair can be turned, with 3 different
sorts of stairways, which can all be used straight or up-side –down. Mixed with other modules they are extremely attractive to little climbers and jumpers!
When a child learns how to write, he will not appreciate writing only 3 letters…He wants to write as quickly as possible the all alphabet, numbers, how to construct properly sentences.
Freedom in actions and thoughts, that he finds in these games, increases his development and push him forwards.
In a traditional football game (90mn on a field), and far from his school, a player will touch the ball approximately 3 minutes during the all game.
In the same time, in this playground, he will be able to shoot 100 times in 5 minutes throwing the ball toward the concentric panels.
He will improve his technique and will also realise how fast he is improving. This will drive him to feel more self-confident and to do better and better again.
This will lead him to persevere in his choices and avoid him to abandon a project and to tackle too many things at once.
He also learns to focus on a specific purpose.
As the children move constantly, and use a lot of energy, he burns excessive calories and so protects himself of latent obesity, always possible if he is idle.
It is also a protection against cardio vascular, respiratory diseases, osteoarthritis, and potential mental disorders.
In addition, he is in great shape!
The child rebellious nature led him to freedom and independence, throwing his ball into a basket for example. He has now increased his skills alone and feels to show his friends how talented he becomes now.
That is the way he will learn how to accept, rules, even to create some new ones, to be part of the team and this is a big step to socialisation.
When a playground is empty, the children form separate groups, or stay on their own. Valid with valid, disabled with disabled, ethnic groups and so on..
Differences between them increase. Quite the reverse, the passion for game drives them into a whirl where all the differences fade to create a great solidarity between the children.
The other one is now a partner, a friend to play with. Through this fusion, they acquire the willing of share joy, sorrows, efforts, doubts and learn the pride to be free, equal and fraternal in their playground.
Without notice it, they have learned how to live together, forgot all their differences, and feel closer than ether.
To progress a child plays, succeeds, jumping from a module to another one, but sometimes he is failing too. To improve, he must have:
- spirit to start again and persevere
- daring to assume novelties
- build a new adventure, create his own game
- respect, and tolerance to the ones who can damage or impede his project
- learn how to be responsible for his choices, his setbacks, and his success and thought to be very imaginative.
An empty playground cannot be for a child a place for these fantastic experiences. Conversely, a “re-created» playground allows him to build his ethic personality.
Watching these new and original forms, warmly painted lying in his playground, the child is over the moon. Thus, these forms are ludic and give a beautiful touch: cubes, spheres, each one is perfect in its purity.
The all set is unique because everyone appropriates it as he wants and because its structures opportunities are infinite. Despite their disparity, in this jigsaw where pieces could be scattered or juxtaposed as in a kaleidoscope, they still all keep a familiar look.
The emotion is perceptible in the children’s eyes, when he is looking at this strange beauty: dark tar, grey soil, or lifeless concrete. Malraux said that Art is indescribable, and just after he added: a work of art must be new, original, unique, stylish, and emotional.
This artistic sensibility is discovered by the child trough his re-created playground. He sees his tenderness, hidden before by a greyish fog and drives his own vision into emptiness.
Now he fusions with Art, plays and fight with it, turn it up side down, gives it a living dynamic.
So each time the child plays there, diving into Art, he becomes immerse by his creativity. Just watching his playground gives him an inner deep joy, Art gives him emotions. His playground becomes his inner secret place.
“If eye was not solar, it could not know the sun” Goethe.
(look diaporama )
The pupil is just achieving a faultless record, a challenge, a wonderful score. His joy explodes as a champion in a stadium and all his friends join him to share his achievement. They are all very happy because this joy will be back each time they will meet in this playground. Love overwhelmed them and is not that the purpose of an accomplish life?
Attraction for school
When a child finds in his playground love, happiness, beauty, ethics, liberty, enjoyable activities, and creativity, he feels good! He likes then goes to school because it is offering him the possibility to realise his dreams. Today, 400 000 pupils can daily enjoy such a special playground. However, they all want it and deserve it and it is excellent for them, the society, and their teachers too.
Why society and teachers should be interest by promoting this new sort of special playground?
Diabetes, apart from suffering and handicap is more expensive to society than building a specific playground dedicated to action and sports games, which is good prevention to diseases and obesity.
In an empty playground children are not doing anything special, they are idle. They argue and sometimes fight, even for a trifling matter because they are so full of energy. In this re-created playground, games and sports absorb this over activity. Then teachers are really pleased to find attentive pupils in their classrooms.
By recycling rainwater, we cut off the water budget. This budget can be use for other projects and generate new jobs. It can also be saving to provide pumps in Southern countries and provide drinking water for these suffering people.
- School Results
Because the child will be more present at school and will enjoy it, both playing and learning, he will improve himself. In addition, he will so get better results, years after years, and can go to better universities. Less money spent and less lost of time (repeating a year) will drive the child to a better future.
In his playground the child has built an ethic based on genuine values. He will keep them his life long, will become a responsible citizen, and so a great benefit to his country.
This is also the end of violence, dullness, idleness, fear, skipping school… The child is happy in his school that becomes lovely, nice, and attractive. A happy child does not have problems, his joy is communicative to his friends, his relatives and it is very positive. It is priceless.
Many other examples could show how pupils in this re-create playground improve their personality and how it gives them the knack for learning at school.
It gives him all the best to challenge the end of his studies.
Moreover, this playground has integrated thousands of neglected pupils, out of the system because of their social handicap. It is the same for obesity and for a bad start at school: it has to be stop very early.
Nobody deserves to be neglected, lonely; everybody deserves love and happiness, specially our children.
Teachers will then get satisfaction in their job, enjoy the best part of their mission: teaching to pupils motivated because they willlike their school.
However, parents, politicians, and mayors must give the means schools deserve to build this re-created playground, which children need so much.