outstanding outdoor spaces

New York Primary School, Tyne & Wear

Active and creative play were top priorities for New York Primary School. They tell us how their new playground has enabled them to incorporate it into all aspects of the school day.

Why did you want to develop your playground?

The children at New York Primary School were really inspired by the Olympics last year and we saw it as the perfect opportunity to introduce more active play into our school grounds. We wanted to develop our playground to encourage more exercise and to show our pupils that a healthy lifestyle can be fun. We felt that introducing that attitude at a young age, we would be able to shape our pupils to be happier and healthier for life.

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

Playforce stood out to us because they understand fun. Fun and innovation is at the heart of what they do and their extensive experience is reflected in their successful designs at schools across the country and beyond. The team worked hard alongside the staff and pupils to ensure that we were getting the most out of our space and that the equipment we chose would encourage active play.
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Being more creative and active outdoors has inspired the children for the rest of the school day. The fresh air is working wonders – they run back to the classroom full of life.

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

Our Active Trail is a big hit with the children and during lessons we find ways to incorporate it into the curriculum. We use the Stop Clock to encourage the pupils to challenge themselves and each other, adding an element of healthy competition as well as numerical understanding. The Play Cabin is the perfect space for imaginative and creative play. At break times we allow the children’s imaginations to run wild, we love seeing what new uses of the equipment they find.

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

Being more creative and active outdoors has inspired the children for the rest of the school day. The fresh air is working wonders – they run back to the classroom full of life. Exercising more has benefited them greatly because it’s given them a new way to expel energy and to develop their physical and social skills. The equipment requires them to be cooperative and interactive, we’ve seen a bit improvement in behaviour and attitude.

Can you share any practice insights you have gained?

Encouraging exercise from a young age is vital for children to grow up with the right attitude towards being active. When designing your playground, make sure you consult the pupils and find out what would make them excited about getting active. After all, they are the ones that are going to be using it.
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