The word leisure refers to the time when individuals are not working or doing other duties and their free time; it is not a waste of time or something negative which stimulates mediocrity but a time when their inventiveness may be productive for their mind. Leisure is necessary for everyone, especially and crucially our students. We know that they are highly stressed during the school year because of their daily responsibilities, grades, exams and personal commitment to achieve their future goals. Consequently, it is absolutely necessary for them to unwind at least three weeks a year so that they can freely enjoy their spare time, developing their personal space and devoting time to their hobbies and surroundings.

However, that temporary unwinding is not enough for a positive and quality leisure time. That is why the Best Schools in Spain foster positive leisure throughout the year, creating healthy and creative activities in the classroom which not only encourage students’ personal growth but also help them build positive and pleasant climates that can also enhance team work.

What activities are championed to boost positive leisure?

We must not confuse specific activities or a physical activity during class time with positive leisure. The idea is to provide education which cultivates positive leisure as a lifestyle, instilling a way to face and enjoy the world in students.

Firstly, the Best Schools in Spain transmit values; school activities such as nature outings, cultural visits to museums, and exchanges with students from other cities and countries enable students to develop concepts such as ecology, a love of nature, and aesthetic and cultural values which will provide them with motor abilities for a growth mindset.

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Secondly, we encourage them to play sports as part of a healthy lifestyle, aware of the values such as physical health, socialisation, team work and effort.

And thirdly, we nurture solidarity among students through leisure. Playing is an easy way to learn that goals can be achieved with help from others, with the talent of other colleagues or by combining their individual abilities with those of others.

Mindfulness has also been fostered in recent years to supplement this healthy lifestyle so that their attitude towards life is less tense and they can reduce stress and anxiety. That is why many students are already practising this type of meditation, sometimes inside the classroom or outside during their free time, to relax their anxiety due to exams and homework. Mindfulness not only reduces their anxiety but also helps them to avoid procrastination, boost their memory and improve their self-control and reflection.

Family involvement is necessary

Remember that this leisure we want to foster must not be confused with leisure that is imposed or mandatory. The idea is that students should have a space in which they can develop their talents or abilities rather than taking more subjects outside school hours. Therefore, families should foster shared free time, generating spaces for leisure with the family and encouraging dialogue and common hobbies. That shared free time should enable those involved to express their choices and decisions, show respect for their decisions and work for dialogue and consensus, making all the family members participants.

At the Best Schools in Spain, we provide support to the families so that they are interested in their children’s tastes and hobbies and get to know them better to guide them or help them choose. We recommend them to act as the role models for how students use their free time and we encourage them to engage in a dialogue and foster a non-consumerist, non-destructive and responsible leisure which boosts creativity, introspection and self-knowledge and brings out each individual’s abilities and qualities; in short, positive leisure.