It’s well-documented that children learn more when they’re enjoying themselves so if they’re playing games then the skills they pick up will stick with them!
And that’s the winning ethos behind a formula developed by Imagination Gaming (IG) – using gaming and playing as a key tool in their innovative learning programmes.
Used correctly within a classroom environment, games can allow children to apply the skills taught and develop abilities that will help them through both life and work enhancing every part of their development.
With more than a decade’s experience in the education sector, Barnsley-based IG puts everything from traditional board games to innovative new ideas into their brain-boosting sessions for schools, prisons and other education based establishments.
Founder Nigel Scarfe runs IG with business partner Chris Standley and armed with hundreds of traditional style games, sourced from across the world, the pair choose the right games for the right purpose. They get students engaged and enthusiastic about curriculum based subjects, all the while playing and socialising.
“Board games are a way for children of all abilities to get involved and engage with their learning in a different way,” Nigel said.
“Someone might be highlighted as being clever in the classroom but struggle at the front of class. Others might not be strong academically but are very creative thinkers and can problem solve. Our approach allows the children to play to their strengths, but it also pushes them out of their comfort zone to develop so many other important life skills.”
“It means teachers can learn themselves too. They get to understand what works best for the kids in their class, which can influence the way they teach.”
Amy Holwell, KS2 Teacher at The Mill Academy, Worsbrough, has seen IG have a huge impact on the school in the two and a half years they have been working together.
“IG helps knock down so many barriers to learning in our school. It gives children confidence, it makes them willing to learn, it inspires them, gives them creativity and it just provides a real context to learning,” said Amy.
Workshops or longer games day programmes, scheduled weeks and months in advance, can cater even more to specific needs.
IG build up lasting, evolving relationships with a loyal client base through regular intervention within schools. They also run amazing game days.
These are dedicated to boosting learning in specific subjects, such as maths and literacy. Bespoke curriculum days tailored to a school’s specific needs can also be created.
The days give students the chance to have fun while engaging with topics and one another.
“All our games obey three rules: they can be taught in about 30 seconds, can be played for five to ten minutes at a time, and have lots of replay value,” said Nigel.
“We have been doing this for 11 years now and I can stand up and proudly say we are leading the way in games based learning. We know how to engage children and adults alike, which games to use for different subjects and how to adapt the games to maximise the application of learning and skills.”
Their success in the UK has now led IG to explore international options too, with a franchise having just launched in Cyprus, with other countries showing interests too.
“The number of children who remember us after a year or so when we return to a school is amazing. It is very, very rewarding and lovely in terms of the feedback too,” Nigel said.
“We are now looking to continue to grow, take what we have done over our first decade and get out into new schools, proving why we love it so much and why it is so worthwhile.”