outstanding outdoor spaces

Bedgrove Primary School, Buckinghamshire

The new playground equipment at Bedgrove Junior School allows the pupils to combine outdoor learning with educational play in a new and exciting way.
Why did you want to develop your playground?
At Bedgrove Primary School, 20% of our children’s time is spent taking part in outside play. We wanted to develop a playground that would allow us to continue learning outside, develop the children physically and provide them with innovative and imaginative social opportunities. Creating an exciting and inspiring outdoor space would help us improve the children’s health and well-being in an environment that is particularly engaging for the boys. We believe that part of growing up is learning to take risks and we wanted to create a safe environment to do this in.

What were the key elements that made Playforce stand out from other providers?
The quality of the products provided by Playforce is second-to-none and they design equipment that is aesthetically pleasing and blends with nature. The team were willing to work alongside educational specialists and created designs to match the curriculum needs.
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The pupils’ investigative and problem solving skills have been developed and their learning enhanced by taking cross curricular opportunities outside.
How are we using the space to deliver outdoor learning & educational play?
We have created an outdoor space for each year group that is used as a ‘classroom’ with designated areas for developing skills such as writing, creativity and physicality. At Bedgrove Primary we ensure that a typical academic day incorporates both indoor and outdoor learning and children are encourage to be imaginative when using the equipment.

What are the biggest benefits you have seen for the children?
Since developing our new playground the children are much more enthusiastic about school and we’ve seen great improvements in the boys’ behaviour. The pupils’ investigative and problem solving skills have been developed and their learning enhanced by taking cross curricular opportunities outside. Messy and noisy play is an extremely important part of growing up and leads to happy and healthy children.
Can you share any best practice insights you’ve gained?
Try not to take indoor activities outside, instead think of new ways to teach the same thing in the different environment. The changes don’t have to be huge but enough to ensure the activities aren’t being repeated. It is important to make sure that the adults understand and enjoy the importance of outdoor learning, as well as when to intervene and enhance it.
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