outstanding outdoor spaces

Bridge Farm Primary School, Somerset

Storytelling is a big part of the school day at Bridge Farm Primary and staff wanted to find a way to make it unique and more inspiring. They tell us how a new playground development has given them the opportunity to bring outdoor learning into the curriculum more easily.
Why did you want to develop your playground?
We’ve been looking for unique ways to incorporate more outdoor play and learning into our daily routine and as the children love story time we thought this could be a fantastic opportunity to merge the two. We decided to develop an outdoor space that would be suitable for storytelling where the children can benefit from being outside and be inspired by their natural surroundings.

What were the key elements that made Playforce stand out from other providers?
We had been looking through piles of brochures but it was Playforce’s that stood out from the rest, combined with their reputation. It was interesting to see how other schools had delivered outdoor learning and educational play in their grounds and reassuring to see the experience the company has. The team was friendly and helped us create the perfect design for our space. The children loved being involved in the process and enjoyed seeing the playground come to life.
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We had been looking through piles of brochures but it was Playforce’s that stood out from the rest, combined with their reputation.
How are you using the space to deliver outdoor learning and educational play?
We originally intended to use the new equipment just for storytelling but the staff and children have embraced it in all aspects of the school day. We use it as a shelter for taking a number of lessons outside and at break times the children love to put on their own performances on the stage. It’s given us the opportunity to move freely between the classroom and the playground and to bridge the gap for free flow play.

What are the biggest benefits you have seen for the children?
The natural environment has inspired the children even more than we had hoped. They are creative and motivated in the outdoor space and they carry this into the classroom with them. The children are attentive much longer in story time and love working together to find new ways to use the equipment. They’re always planning their next performance or adventure.
Can you share any practice insights you have gained?
Developing a space that is multi-purpose has enabled us to introduce outdoor learning to our children in all aspects of the curriculum. You might set out for your playground to be used in one way but there are always new ways to play waiting to be found. Children have the best imaginations so get them involved and find out how they want to use the space.
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