Creativity and innovation come hand-in-hand with good playground design, and this is exactly what Playforce consultant Lizzy achieved when working alongside the team at Radcliffe Hall C of E Primary School to get maximum use from their outdoor space.
School budget cuts have had a lot of bad press recently, but they don’t have to mean doom and gloom for schools that want to take on a new play project. At Playforce we’ve done the research, and we know that playground investments are worth it.
The team at Playforce work hard to help increase opportunities for physical activity and sport in schools and the wider community, and have been campaigning to tackle issues such as childhood obesity and the role sporting events play in inspiring children to live active lives for a number of years. In support of this goal, Playforce design equipment and outdoor spaces for schools and nurseries to encourage active play and exercise as part of a child’s daily routine.
There is nothing quite like visiting schools, nurseries and other childcare settings to gain ideas and inspiration. I’m always delighted when I get this opportunity. Sometimes, I am asked about good places to see. In my opinion it is not possible to find a “perfect” outdoor space. Instead I look for elements of good practice, which are worth reflecting upon and remembering. This might be how free flow play is set up in less than ideal circumstances. Or it could be how a muddy area has been developed with children fully involved.
The places that have truly got going with learning and play outside, perceive their outdoor spaces as ongoing works in progress. There is a continuous commitment to valuing and actively using an outdoor space as a place for learning and play. It is a mixture of ethos, physical improvements and careful thought about the variety and potential of a range of activities to happen in an outdoor space.
When visiting another school or establishment, these are my top tips:
Photo credit: striatic