Bringing the Joy of Play

Uganda Humanist Schools Trust is working with the charity Play Action International, on a Joint Project to create playgrounds in four Humanist primary schools. 

Our schools are in poor rural areas where families find it difficult to make ends meet and many children are required to work from an early age. They rise early to complete household chores before they go to school. They fetch water and firewood when they return in the evenings. In cases of extreme poverty, some children do hard physical labour as charcoal burners and carriers.

Going to school is a relief from the daily drudgery but in many schools, children have formal lessons all day long. Humanist Schools are a little different. They recognise that children learn better when schools are welcoming and caring, and foster a happy environment based on mutual respect. 

Play Action International has many years of experience developing playgrounds in situations of high social stress, such as in camps housing the many refugees that Uganda cares for from the Congo and South Sudan. They work in impoverished rural areas, where they have found that schools with well-designed playgrounds have:

  • Higher enrolment rates
  • Less absence from school
  • More cooperative learning through play
  • Improved concentration in class

We all recognise the truth in the adage that “All work and no play make Jack a dull boy”. Through this collaboration with Play Action International, we aim to help the Humanist Schools to foster joy and happiness through purposeful play. Play Action International has put much thought into designing playground equipment that is safe, durable and promotes imaginative play (a few of these are pictured). As part of the project Play Action will run 4 days of play-based education training in each school to introduce the schools to new strategies for learning through play.