SPH KV Officiates New Playground and Basketball Court
The young learners of SPH Kemang Village (SPH KV) were ecstatic, squealing with joy, and rushing towards the campus’ new indoor playground on Wednesday
27th April 2022. Whooshing down the slides, they cheerfully called on their peers to join and proclaimed their enthusiasm to teachers on the sidelines who eventually participated in their creative games. At the same time, the middle school and high school students played ball at the new basketball court. A teacher was even challenged and the students cheered on him as he missed a basket before scoring some points.
Several executives and student representatives officiated these new facilities through a ribboncutting ceremony at this 12-year- old school situated in Kemang, South Jakarta. Matthew Mann, SPH Executive Director, believes schools need to be in a cycle of constant improvement and review to make the education offered better by following research and making investments.
As an organisation of five schools, SPH provides holistic education prioritising academic, emotional, spiritual, psychological, and physical needs. SPH KV Head of School Mark Thiessen admitted the school lacked a play area for students to engage in collaborative and cooperative play. “In order for learning to stick permanently in students’ brains, they must have time between periods of learning to give their brains a chance to consolidate. Research shows that exercise is part of that process,” Thiessen explained.
The playground is about 600 square metres and is designed to be non-intuitive in many areas, consisting of various design elements that will be challenging for five- to 12-year- olds. Joy, a grade 6 student shyly expressed, “I love playing with my friends at the playground. I like the slides.”
Thiessen elaborated that no obvious way to use a piece of equipment exists; this, therefore, forces students to be creative by learning from each other, not from their teachers. Collaboration is fostered as they play together and communication is promoted as they need to create new games or resolve problems.
Safety is of utmost importance, especially to nurture risk-taking, involving different physical elements intertwined to develop interpersonal skills. “They may fall off of a piece of equipment or they may be unable to reach the top of a climbing structure the very first time, but they’d want to do it again until they develop grit and perseverance, which is what we want in our students,” he elaborated.
Children lost learning and character formation opportunities due to COVID, thus becoming less social. Members of the campus have been very deliberate in creating social structures allowing students to participate mentally, emotionally, and safely. Teachers supervise and are all ears when a student is feeling uncomfortable at any time. Certain areas allow students to engage in different activities by themselves or in a small group - perhaps reading a book, chatting, or playing board and card games.
“We intend to meet the needs of students where they’re at while also taking them to where we want them to be. Our staff is trained to encourage students to take those steps to reach beyond what they think they are capable of. This allows them to expand their boundaries to be more successful,” said Thiessen.
The Pelita Harapan Education Foundation has been established for 30 years and strives to educate children through knowledge, faith in Christ, and Godly character. One of the Executive Directors, Stephanie Riady, considers facilities crucial to support SPH’s teachers' vision and mission to educate children into flourishing learners. “Development is an ongoing practice of SPH schools thus it isn’t a one-time development, but a process of continuous improvement. Every year, our schools will have facility upgrades and developments according to the needs of the students.”