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The Erasmus+ Europlay grant is a two-year long project with the aim of designing four ‘Euro’ playgrounds that are bound together with the common goal of promoting opportunities for children to plan, learn and play within the contexts of Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics for and in their recreation times. In addition, the desire is to encourage the sharing of traditional games from contrasting European countries.

It is a student-led project, so each phase of the project will be developed around the students, their ideas and the student exchange outcomes. Within the two-year grant period there will be four student exchanges. Each exchange will be dedicated to one of four project steps; research, data assessment, model concept/design and finally an implementation/action plan. Students from grades 4 and 5 will be participating in the project. ISS has identified the Lower School Student Council as our “creative architects” and they will participate in the four exchange visits with our three partner schools in the UK, Poland and Italy.

In November 2017, seven children from each of the partner schools met up for the first time in Zlotoryja, Poland to get to know one another, share their cultures, and kick off the project. During this week-long collaboration the students created a project logo and focused on researching, designing and developing a playground survey targeted at students. Supporting the concepts that Europlay is a student-led project, that children know how to play, build, and be creative, and that they learn by doing, our “creative architects” took what they learned in Poland and returned to their respective countries. At each partner school they have been gathering  information about traditional play on and off the playground in their schools from the students themselves.

This information will be combined to serve as the basis for the second Student Exchange that will be taking place right here at ISS during the week of April 16th – 20th. We will be welcoming 20 students from the UK, Italy and Poland onto the Degerloch campus where they will spend the week exploring, analysing and assessing their collective data. We will also be inviting some guest presenters with key design expertise to guide the students through the research, planning and finally designing stages of the process. We are excited to have them here and are hoping to involve the whole school in this powerful and productive collaborative exchange.

The project coordinators will be meeting in Ashington, UK in March to plan this exciting endeavour and we are look forward to successfully completing the first half of the Europlay project and starting next school year working toward creating our playground models and action plans.