outstanding outdoor spaces

Highfield School, Cambridgeshire

The playground at Highfield School has become the perfect place to put on a show and become the next Mozart. They tell us how their new outdoor space has enabled them to put on their best Christmas performance yet.
Why did you want to develop your playground?
Improving music and the arts at school had always been on our to-do list but it was the Christmas performance that finally made us decide to work on it. We wanted to give our winter show something special and to create a music-dedicated area that wouldn’t disturb other classes. At first we weren’t sure how we could achieve this but after seeing Playforce’s outdoor equipment, we knew the playground was the solution.

What were the key elements that made Playforce stand out from other providers?
The equipment from Playforce is innovative, exciting and is designed to fit all health and safety requirements but what really made it stand out to us is how much fun it is. The outdoor musical instruments are perfect for our school and the team was really helpful when it came to choosing the right combination.
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The children are really inspired by their new playground. Taking lessons outdoors is a big motivation boost for both the staff and pupils.
How are you using the space to deliver outdoor learning and educational play?
Our outdoor shelter was first put to use for our Christmas show. It gave us the opportunity to do an amazing and unique nativity play. Now it is being used in all weathers for lessons and, alongside the musical instruments, for outdoor performances. It’s not just for play or just for work, the new space is being used by staff and pupils throughout the school day.

What are the biggest benefits you have seen for the children?
The children are really inspired by their new playground. Taking lessons outdoors is a big motivation boost for both the staff and pupils. Science and environmental lessons have a new hands-on dimension and this has made the children more productive and excited. Having the option to carry out music lessons in the playground has helped us decrease the number of recorder-interrupted classes inside.
Can you share any best practice insights you have gained?
We didn’t realise how much of an impact developing our playground could have on the daily routine. When choosing to redesign your outdoor space, creating something that can be used in lessons, at playtimes and for extracurricular activities ensures that the great outdoors is being filtered into all areas of the school day.
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