outstanding outdoor spaces

Defford Cum Besford CE First School, Worcestershire

The new additions to the outdoor area at Defford Cum Besford CE First School have seen the children take control of their playtimes. Headteacher Mrs Brown tells us how this has also benefitted the children’s learning in the process!
Why did you want to develop your playground?
We wanted to develop our playground because we needed to provide a safe outdoor area for our Playgroup and Reception children, as well as an outdoor classroom for the whole school.

What were the key elements that made Playforce stand out from other providers?
There were three main factors which made Playforce stand out as the top provider. Firstly, the materials used for the equipment were fantastic, which was an important factor for us. We also had a very quick response from our Playforce consultant and the detailed plans presented to us were just what we wanted.
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The children are in control of their learning. It is amazing to see the amount of literacy (writing shopping lists, party invitations, organising picnics) and mathematics (shopping, building houses etc) that has taken place in the outdoor area!
How are you using the space to deliver outdoor learning and educational play?
Our Class 1 and Playgroup children are always outside! The children really enjoy choosing for themselves what to take out and deciding how they’ll use it. They love to get together in the Octagonal Shelter and it has meant that even in wet weather they can go outside and enjoy their environment. Some further equipment has yet to be bought but it is on our to-do list!

What are the biggest benefits you have seen for the children?
The children are in control of their learning. They relax more because they can choose. It is amazing to see the amount of literacy (writing shopping lists, party invitations, organising picnics) and mathematics (shopping, building houses etc) that has taken place in the outdoor area!
Can you share any best practice insights you’ve gained?
We have been able to trust the children to play safely and collaboratively outside. With this extra freedom, the children have been able to play more creatively and the staff have enjoyed observing this. The children also have great pride in their new equipment and help to manage and care for their own area, which of course also makes the lives of the school staff that bit easier!
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