outstanding outdoor spaces

Micklem Primary School

Micklem Primary School wanted a playground that could provide more choice for their pupils to play on each week. Liz Ormonde, Micklem’s headteacher, tells us that by listening to the children’s ideas, Playforce created the playground to be exactly how the children wanted it.

Why did you want to develop your playground?
We wanted to add more choice for our children, as they had identified that there weren’t enough large pieces of equipment for each class to have a turn on each week. We believe it is important for children to be able to take risks when playing and to challenge themselves, so this was an area we wanted to develop. The pupil’s voice has a big influence in our school through our ‘house’ system and the children played a large role in choosing and designing the equipment.

 

What were the key elements that made Playforce stand out from other providers?
We had previously used Playforce and the follow up service has always been good, even on relatively old equipment. Neil Prickett worked really well with the school; he held an initial design consultation meeting with our school house captains and listened to what they wanted. Four designs were produced and Neil made these very visual so the children could understand what the finished product would look like. With no pushing for the children to choose the most expensive, the final design was a genuine pupil choice. The build went smoothly and we now have a fantastic piece of equipment which is providing a challenge for all ages.

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The children are being challenged physically and are also taking risks, which all leads into increasing their confidence and self-esteem.

How are you using the space to deliver outdoor learning and educational play?
The equipment is high and challenging for many of the children, and we have seen lots of children persevere even when they are afraid. This fits in well with our work on ‘learning powers’ in the classroom. The children are also developing their physical skills as well as their mindsets.

 

What are the biggest benefits you have seen for the children?
The children are being challenged physically and are also taking risks, which all leads into increasing their confidence and self-esteem.

Any other comments?
The play development was an excellent community project as the PTA helped with the fundraising, as did our local councilor and Waitrose in Berkhamstead. The children certainly felt empowered that they were the driving force behind the equipment we bought. This was a whole school effort, led by the children.
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