Playgrounds around the world show kids at their best

When my daughter was in half-day school, I’d often come early and catch her still at recess. She couldn’t see me, but I could watch from afar, and get a little glimpse at her first taste of independence. I’d see her play patty cake with her friends, toss a ball, giggle with her pals, and go down the slide. It’s a few years later, and it’s still the same, only with bigger risks and louder laughs — and it’s still a treat to watch her magical time in the playground.

Award-winning photographer James Mollison knows what I’m talking about. He beautifully captures photos of schools around the world in his book, Playground.

Photographed in the UK, China, Kenya, India, Tokyo, Russia, as well the United States, his pictures help identify both similarities and diversity in each country’s approach to play.

We’ve chosen to feature six images of schools that are very different in terms of their resources, green space, and size, but that all have one very important thing in common; they all show how kids truly come alive in the playground.

1. Adolfo López Mateos Primary School, Mexico City

MOLLISON_PLAYGROUND_053_MEXICO_Adolfo-Lopez

2. Freretown Community Primary School, Mombasa, Kenya

MOLLISON_PLAYGROUND_015_KENYA_Freretown

3. St. Mary of the Assumption Elementary School, Brookline, Mass

MOLLISON_PLAYGROUND_050_USA_St-Mary

4. Wen Chong Primary School, Qingyuan, China

MOLLISON_PLAYGROUND_058_CHINA_Wen-Chong

5. School #2013, Moscow

MOLLISON_PLAYGROUND_045_RUSSIA_-2013

6. Warren Lane Elementary, Inglewood, California

MOLLISON_PLAYGROUND_048_USA_Warren-Lane

Do you have a favourite? Tell us in the comments section below, or on Facebook or Twitter.

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field_sublabel_below field_description_below gfield_visibility_hidden" ><div class='admin-hidden-markup'><i class='gform-icon gform-icon--hidden'></i><span>Hidden</span></div><label class='gfield_label' for='input_10_4' >Age When Submitted</label><div class='ginput_container ginput_container_text'><input name='input_4' id='input_10_4' type='text' value='' class='medium' aria-invalid="false" /> </div></div><div id="field_10_5" class="gfield field_sublabel_below field_description_below gfield_visibility_hidden" ><div class='admin-hidden-markup'><i class='gform-icon gform-icon--hidden'></i><span>Hidden</span></div><label class='gfield_label' for='input_10_5' >1st Birthday</label><div class='ginput_container ginput_container_text'><input name='input_5' id='input_10_5' type='text' value='' class='medium' aria-invalid="false" /> </div></div><div id="field_10_6" class="gfield field_sublabel_below field_description_below gfield_visibility_hidden" ><div class='admin-hidden-markup'><i 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