Improving physical activity and natural connections at Garfield Primary School, London


Playforce was one of the first to offer a complete, consultative approach to developing tailored playgrounds. With consultants and playgrounds in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, as well as further afield, their award-winning designs are backed up by a reputation for being the playground supplier most likely to be recommended by schools. Contact [email protected] for more information.

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Outdoor learning and play is at the heart of everything we do at Playforce. Giving children the opportunity to discover the world around them through hands-on, interactive experiences can help them grow and develop physical, mental and social skills. We work hard to campaign for outdoor learning and children’s health, and believe that through encouraging daily outdoor activities, children can develop some of the fundamental skills to set them up to become happy and healthy adults.


We’ve helped schools across the UK create amazing outdoor spaces in a variety of shapes and sizes. We work closely with schools to ensure that they receive the perfect playground. When we spoke to Garfield Primary School in London, site manager Robert Shaw told us that improving learning"Garfield Primary wanted to develop their playground into an area that was new and vibrant." experiences for the younger children had always been top priority.

Regarding their latest playground development, Robert said, “At Garfield we recognise the importance of Early Years education. We strive to work in partnership with parents in order to ensure that children have the opportunities to fulfil their potential from their earliest educational experiences.”

Garfield Primary School wanted to develop their playground into an area that was new and vibrant, one that would provide exciting and creative learning experiences for their Early Years children. They wanted the children to be able to use the new space all year round so, with the unpredictability of the English weather, we worked with them to design a playground with more sheltered areas for rain or shine.

The Playforce team stepped in to design and build an outdoor space that would allow the children of Garfield Primary School to enjoy outdoor learning and play throughout the school year. We collected ideas from the staff and pupils to ensure that the playground would be full of equipment and activities that the children wanted and loved. Headteacher Michèle Thomas wanted to give the children a space that they would feel connected to, and one that would give them a sense of pride and ownership.

For Garfield Primary School, understanding and caring about nature is another high priority. We designed a playground that would enable the children to take part in daily interaction with the natural world around them. Giving them these opportunities can help them build an understanding of nature that can, in time, develop into a caring and protective attitude.

Developing the new playground at Garfield Primary School has greatly enhanced the children’s outdoor learning. They are now able to enjoy their activities in the playground at a much higher level than before. According to Robert, the pupils have more engagement and focus on the world outside and this, in turn, is inspiring them in many areas of school life. Including equipment such as mud kitchens, tipis and allotments in the playground has increased the connection between the children and the"The school held a grand opening with the mayor and mayoress." world. They are more curious regarding nature and outside subjects, they have a much better understanding of the world around them.

Jessica Scheiner, parent and PTA chair said: “My son comes home after school each day excited about playing in the sand pit or rolling down the hill. The covered area is perfect for rainy days. I am so thankful for all the work from the Early Years staff to achieve this project for the children.”

The playground development was one of the biggest and most exciting projects that Garfield Primary School has undertaken recently. When they launched their new outdoor space, they held a grand opening with the mayor and mayoress of Merton. The mayor said of the new playground: “This is a fantastic initiative by one of Merton’s most ambitious schools. As a lifelong ambassador for education, I will be taking a close interest in Garfield School’s inspiring determination to make sure all children enjoy a first-class learning experience.”

When talking about working with Playforce, site manager Robert Shaw said: “The Playforce team overcame all obstacles that were thrown at them in a professional manner and provided a quality, value for money learning space. We had worked with Playforce before on a previous project so we were already aware of the quality of their workmanship. The initial contact we had with Playforce was very personal and the team adapted to our plans and ideas much more than other competitors did.”

Visit or contact [email protected] / 01225 792660 for more information.

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