The Sint-Paulus free elementary school is part of the KBK school group (Katholieke Basisscholen Kortrijk). The city school offers kindergarten and primary education. It is located in the Burgemeester Felix de Bethunelaan in Kortrijk. The school is hidden behind a cloister garden and a row of houses, and borders the railroad line Kortrijk-Lille and Kortrijk-Bruges. Along the playground runs the Guldensporen bike path that connects Marke with Zwevegem. From the street side the school looks small, but appearances are deceptive. The school welcomes approximately 450 students every day. Of these, about 1/3rd are kindergarteners and 2/3rd elementary school children.
The school’s outdoor space covers some 4000 sq. ft. This includes both the front, parking and play area. Toddlers and older children play at separate times during the short play times and only in the morning and over the afternoon do all children play together. This naturally creates a high play pressure. The playgrounds can be roughly divided into two parts. There is a playground where we encourage calmer play and a larger playground where active play is encouraged. On that active playground, there were two forms of play that had a big impact: soccer and scooting.
The teachers are actively involved in the playground operation. Everyone rotates in the supervisory carousel and there is a group of teachers who actively think about the playground and the play offerings. For example, since the 2016-2017 school year, there was an active play store where students can borrow toys to play with during playtimes. This is not currently active.
In terms of classroom occupancy, there is not enough space for the children. All the classrooms are in use and this means that very often we have to go to the playground or the park nearby.
Although we are a dynamic, enthusiastic and active school with a high level of involvement from parents and students, the shoe still stuck about our play area. It was too monotonous, offered too little challenge and was also sometimes dangerous for the youngest in the school.