outstanding outdoor spaces

Garfield Primary School, London

For Headteacher Michele Thomas, improving learning experiences for younger children at Garfield Primary School has always been a top priority.

Regarding their latest playground development, she said, "At Garfield we recognise the importance of Early Years education. We strive to work in partnership with parents in order to ensure that children have the opportunities to fulfil their potential from their earliest educational experiences.”

The project was a big and exciting one for Garfield Primary School, they tell us how the new area has sparked their children’s interest in nature.


Why did you want to develop your playground?

We wanted to develop out playground into an area that was new and vibrant, one that would provide exciting and creative learning experiences for our Early Years children. We wanted the children to be able to use the new space all year round, so we aimed to create more sheltered areas against the English weather.

 

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

We had worked with Playforce before on a previous project so we were already aware of the quality of their workmanship. The initial contact we had with Playforce was very personal and the team adapted to our plans and ideas much more than other competitors did.

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My son comes home after school each day excited about playing in the sand pit or rolling down the hill. The covered area is perfect for rainy days. I am so thankful for all the work from the Early Years staff to achieve this project for the children. - Jessica Scheiner, parent and PTA Chair.

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

It’s fantastic to see the children getting hands-on with nature, they have developed a much bigger interest in the natural world around them. They are climbing, digging and taking part in lots of activities to aid their physical development. They are excited about going outside to play on the new equipment and have fun.

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

The new playground has greatly enhanced their outdoor learning, they can enjoy it at a much higher level than before. They have more engagement and focus on the world outside, it is inspiring them in many areas of school life.

Can you share any practice insights you have gained?

Including equipment like mud kitchens, teepees and allotments in our space has really increased the connection between the children and the world. They are more curious regarding nature and outside subjects, they have a much better understanding of the world around them.

Any other comments?

The Playforce team overcame all obstacles that were thrown at them in a professional manner and provided a quality, value for money learning space.
The playground was recently opened by both the mayor and mayoress of Merton. The mayor said: "This is a fantastic initiative by one of Merton’s most ambitious schools. As a lifelong ambassador for education, I will be taking a close interest in Garfield School’s inspiring determination to make sure all children enjoy a first-class learning experience.”
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