outstanding outdoor spaces

Hallmoor Special School, Warwickshire

Come rain or shine, Hallmoor Special School wanted to find a way to incorporate outdoor learning and play into their daily routine. They tell us how their new shelter has provided them with a way to do it.

Why did you want to develop your playground?

We really enjoy outdoor learning and play at Hallmoor Special School but when the sun disappears it’s difficult to encourage pupils to head into the playground. We wanted to develop our outdoor space so that it could be used whatever the weather and the children could get the benefits of being outdoors without having to contend with rain and grey skies.

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

Playforce has a great range of play equipment and we were impressed with the brochure. We spotted the shelters that they sell and knew that this could offer our pupils the outdoor learning experience they need. It looked natural and would blend well with the school’s surroundings. The octagonal roof would give us the opportunity to use the playground in bright sunshine and on rainy days.
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Adding the Octagonal Shelter to our playground means that outdoor play and learning is accessible to all of our pupils.

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

The shelter is a space that can be used in lessons and play times, as well as for parents to wait in at the end of the day. We use it as an area for story telling and classes. The children love to learn in a new environment and the natural surroundings are a great source of inspiration. When the bell rings for break times, the children use the shelter for a range of activities. Sometimes it’s a stage where they put on performances, other times it’s just some shade whilst they eat their lunches.

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

Adding the Octagonal Shelter to our playground means that outdoor play and learning is accessible to all of our pupils. They are inspired by spending more time outdoors and it gives them a motivation boost that is carried across the whole curriculum. We’ve noticed that their communication skills have improved at play times as the shelter is a space where they can come together and find new ways to play.

Can you share any practice insights you have gained?

Our shelter proves that even just creating a space dedicated to year-round play can benefit pupils. Having the option to take lessons outdoors whatever the weather means that there will always be variety in the daily routine.
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