outstanding outdoor spaces

Churchfields VC Primary School, Somerset

Inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Churchfields VC Primary School wanted to develop a playground that would encourage their pupils to get outside and active.
Why did you want to develop your playground?
We were really inspired by Britain’s Year of Sport in 2012. The Olympics increased the children’s interest in getting active and we wanted to develop an outdoor space where they could exercise and develop a range of physical skills. We needed to make sure that the space would cater for all ages and abilities and, most importantly, be fun.

What were the key elements that made Playforce stand out from other providers?
Playforce understands the way children think. The equipment is designed for fun and inspirational outdoor play, as well as meeting curriculum requirements too. The team worked alongside our pupils to find out exactly what they wanted the playground to contain and ensured we were kept up-to-date at every stage of the process.
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We’ve been really impressed with the way the children have worked together to get the most out of the equipment and helped out those less confident than themselves.
How are you using the space to deliver outdoor learning and educational play?
Our main aim with our new playground was to encourage more exercise and the new equipment has enabled us to bring active play into all aspects of the curriculum. We can reenact history lessons straight from the textbook and all get involved in life-size science experiments. The addition of the Octagonal Shelter means that we can take other lessons outside too, it’s become the place to go for story time.

What are the biggest benefits you have seen for the children?
Having the opportunity to spend more time outdoors has boosted the children’s enthusiasm for exercise. They love the challenge of testing themselves and by providing them with a range of activities, they have been able to develop a range of physical skills at their own pace. We’ve been really impressed with the way the children have worked together to get the most out of the equipment and helped out those less confident than themselves.
Can you share any practice insights you have gained?
Most of our children were itching to get outside and active but there are always some that need a little push. We found to encourage those that are less confident, introducing aspects of active play into all areas of the curriculum reduced the stigma of the ‘dreaded PE lesson’. Making exercise fun has made it much more approachable for those that previously were unkeen.
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