outstanding outdoor spaces

Clarendon Infant School,Wiltshire

A recent playground transformation at Clarendon Infant School has given pupils a fantastic outdoor space where they can play and learn. They tell us how their new play equipment has improved learning across the curriculum.

Why did you want to develop your playground?

Encouraging our younger pupils to spend more time outdoors has always been a priority at Clarendon Infant School. We wanted to create a playground that made it easier to move between the classroom and the outdoors so that our children could take part in interactive and natural play and learning. Our old playground was beginning to look a little bit tired and was restricting what we could do, so we decided to have a complete transformation and fill the space with exciting and innovative equipment.

What were the key elements that made Playforce stand out from other providers?

Playforce was able to offer us a range of equipment that could be adapted to suit all ages and abilities – not just the older children. We were impressed by the variety of equipment available for even our youngest pupils so that no one would miss out on the opportunity to enjoy outdoor learning. The team was very helpful and friendly, they ensured that both staff and pupils were involved in all aspects of the build. The children loved watching the playground come together and the installation contractors were very patient, answering questions.
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The children come back to the classroom bright eyed and filled with energy after they’ve spend time in the playground.

How are you using the space to deliver outdoor learning and educational play?

Our new playground is used almost every day, without fail. We always try to take aspects of our learning into the fresh air. We’ve got an area for story telling, where we can take it in turns to share our tales and practice reading. There are lots of instruments for music lessons, where we can make as much noise as we want without disturbing the nearby classes. We have a zone filled with more active equipment but even that can be used during science lessons to teach about forces and balance.

What are the biggest benefits you have seen for the children?

The children come back to the classroom bright eyed and filled with energy after they’ve spend time in the playground. When we take lessons outdoors they are more attentive and refreshed by the natural surroundings. By ensuring that there is equipment suitable for all ages, we have helped boost the confidence of pupils that previously weren’t comfortable with some of the outdoor activities. They all work together to use the equipment and this has really helped improve their communicative and interactive skills.

Can you share any practice insights you have gained?

Many schools are concerned that as children grow older their opportunities for outdoor play and learning decline. By encouraging positive attitudes towards outdoor activities from a young age we can help ensure that they will seek time outside, whether through play or eventually sport.
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