outstanding outdoor spaces

Cumwhinton School, Carlisle, Cumbria

Cumwhinton School wanted to give their playground a new lease of life that would encourage a range of outdoor play and learning. They tell us how their play equipment has improved physical skills as well as pupil interaction.

Why did you want to develop your playground?

We wanted to redesign our playground so that it would give our pupils an opportunity to take part in varied outdoor play within our beautiful surroundings. We decided to break down the playground into different zones so that the children could choose how they wanted to play. As our school is located in the Lake District, we wanted to ensure that the new equipment would reflect our natural environment and sit well within the local community.

 

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

Our biggest concern was ensuring that the equipment we chose was varied enough to separate into different zones. When we saw the huge range of equipment Playforce offers, we knew that we would be able to create a combination to suit our pupils. We were also impressed with the natural look of a lot of their equipment. We were able to design a playground filled with sustainable structures.

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Spending more time outdoors has improved the children’s creativity and imaginative thinking. They are inspired by the natural environment and the equipment bridges the gap between their surroundings and the classroom.

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

The Willow Dome is the perfect place for story telling and the children love using it during lessons and at play times. The whiteboards and play panels inspire creative and imaginative thinking. Nearby the music panels are the centre of the noise. We teach pupils tunes here during lessons and encourage them to practice at play times. If the children want to take part in role play they can head to the Shop Counter Play Panel and act out fun scenarios.

 

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

Spending more time outdoors has improved the children’s creativity and imaginative thinking. They are inspired by the natural environment and the equipment bridges the gap between their surroundings and the classroom. We’ve seen older pupils help out those that are less confident and children of all ages and abilities come together to use the equipment. It’s refreshing to see them building on their teamwork and social skills.

Can you share any practice insights you have gained?

We’ve found that separating the playground into zones has given our pupils the flexibility to play how they want to. If they’re full of energy and want to make lots of noise they won’t be disturbing those that want a more relaxing and peaceful play time

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