outstanding outdoor spaces

Riverhead Infant School, Kent

When trying to find new ways to teach science and discovery, Riverhead Infant School decided to take things outside. They tell us how new play equipment has inspired budding scientists and helped encourage more outdoor learning and play.
Why did you want to develop your playground?
The pupils at Riverhead Infant School love spending time outside exploring their natural environment. We wanted to develop an area of our playground that would encourage them to discover the natural world even further. We decided that creating a space in our playground for outdoor learning, primarily based around science and discovery, would give pupils a hands-on experience and connect them with nature.

What were the key elements that made Playforce stand out from other providers?
Playforce made science the most fun! Their Discovery range of equipment has clearly been designed to make outdoor learning approachable for any pupil. The Weather Station was the perfect addition to our playground and our School Grounds Consultant gave us lots of hints and tips about how other schools had incorporated it into their science lessons. The children loved watching the playground get developed and they felt proud to be part of it.
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Science is a very difficult subject to teach without demonstrations and the Weather Station has helped the children stay more attentive and motivated during lessons. [...] We’re looking forward to seeing what else our budding scientists discovery next.
How are you using the space to deliver outdoor learning and educational play?
We use the Weather Station to learn about our natural surroundings and the elements. We set science projects around it and take the children out to make readings during lessons. The Solar Powered Stop Clock not only helps us time aspects of the Weather Station, it also acts as a focal point for teaching children about the environment and sustainability, as well as numeracy.

What are the biggest benefits you have seen for the children?
Science is a very difficult subject to teach without demonstrations and the Weather Station has helped the children stay more attentive and motivated during lessons. They really enjoy seeing what has changed in the results and, most importantly, trying to understand why. We’re looking forward to seeing what else our budding scientists discovery next.
Can you share any practice insights you have gained?
The Stop Clock has been a fantastic addition to our playground. When it’s not being used in science lessons we’ve also seen the children use it in their own time to see how long it takes them to walk, run and cartwheel across the playground. Sometimes a little healthy competition is all they need to inspire active play.
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