International School Bangkok's (ISB) Panther Park is an early childhood playground full of creativity, adventure, and imagination. We designed it last year with the help of our Elementary School students, consequently constructing their designs and opening the Park for use in February of 2021.
Our younger Panthers certainly rose to the design challenge - delivering architectural designs and inspirations in the forms of sketches, 3D models, and more. Once completed, our students shared their ideas with the architect and playground manufacturer. A treehouse and sensory play areas were just a few of the students' design concepts incorporated into the final playground design.
Panther Park is an incredible space for play and learning that involves physical, social, cognitive, and creative elements. Located near our Early Childhood Center, the Park is blended into a landscape with newly planted or reintroduced trees, plants, and water features; it is seamlessly incorporated into ISB's natural environment. Adventure and fun abound in our Panther Park, where students can ride tricycles around the race track, climb up the treehouse, swing on a swing set, jump on trampolines, hop on the chalk walk, or play with water and sand in our sensory play area. For a complete walkthrough, check out our Facebook LIVE.
Experiential Learning in Action
A playground isn't ever just a playground. Play is crucial to the physical, social, emotional, and cognitive development of children. It gives students the opportunity to interact with their environment differently, to have novel experiences, rebalance their energy, learn by doing and have fun along the way. Engaging, creative, and adaptable activities reinforce this learning. When we asked our young learners to participate in the design challenge, they had to use their critical thinking, creative and problem-solving skills and got to see the final result of what they could create, thus learning by doing. This is just one example of the experiential and transferable learning in ISB's curriculum.
When the Panther Park opened, and our students finally got to use the playground, one of our Elementary School teachers, Zoe Trodden, reflected, "We have seen the phenomenal impact this space has had already. Lots of collaboration, peer-to-peer learning where older children are helping younger children, and the language that's been going on to support one another, it's fantastic...the language piece and how we communicate with one another - that really transfers back into the classroom! So the spaces support each other, and really, this is an outside classroom. It has a positive impact on their whole learning."
As the children play with one another, they are also in the process of quickly forming novel and crucial connections in their brains. Playtime incorporates social cues like intention and reciprocity - these cues involve complex neural exercises and communication. Engaging in these exercises, making those connections, and practicing languaging will help them succeed in the future as they develop. At ISB, the developmental needs of our students are at the center of each school day; we try to maximize every learning opportunity, whether it's indoors or outdoors.
Continual Imagination and Improvement
We've recently renovated and opened additional play spaces - our “Parkour Park” and “Sky Park.” These parks provide exciting new experiences for Elementary and Middle School students. From zip lines to towers, climbing structures, building blocks, and more. ISB's balanced programs, focus on student well-being, and continual commitment to imaginative learning, play, and improvement make it one of the top international schools in Asia.