outstanding outdoor spaces

Ryhope Junior School, Sunderland, Tyne & wear

In need of some inspiration for outdoor play, the playground at Ryhope Junior School was given a Playforce makeover. They tell us how it has improved play, learning and relaxing.
Why did you want to develop your playground?
Our old playground was lacking inspiration and looking a bit tired. We wanted to develop our outdoor space so that it would encourage our pupils to be active as well as provide them with an area that they could use for performance and drama. Developing a space that had room for a stage would mean that we could also take learning out into the fresh air.

What were the key elements that made Playforce stand out from other providers?
We felt that we were able to get the whole job done with Playforce. Their extensive range of equipment allowed us to include everything we wanted to in our designs. From the stage to Swinging Logs, benches to Balance Bars, they could offer us a full service and take care of every element of the process. Their years of experience with a variety of schools is evident in their professional and enthusiastic manner.
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We knew that encouraging more outdoor play would benefit our pupils but there have been some fantastic results we didn’t expect. The children have become more active and this has given them great energy when they return to the classroom.
How are you using the space to deliver outdoor learning and educational play?
Outdoor play is easy with the new active equipment. The children can have free rein to explore the activities as they see fit. We have also developed a drama and performance area that, whatever the weather, we can use to put on plays. The stage is also used to deliver outdoor lessons and at playtimes can be a quiet space to eat lunch. It’s provided us with more options than we ever could have imagined.

What are the biggest benefits you have seen for the children?
We knew that encouraging more outdoor play would benefit our pupils but there have been some fantastic results we didn’t expect. The children have become more active and this has given them great energy when they return to the classroom. As they work together to find new ways to play they have improved their coordination and teamwork skills. We chose a variety of equipment so that pupils could develop physical skills at their own pace and we are so pleased to see the older pupils helping those that are less confident.
Can you share any practice insights you have gained?
The stage has been a fantastic choice for our school. It can be used for lessons, performances, play and rest. Finding equipment that can be used for more than one purpose ensures that you make the most of the space you have available and helps build well-rounded outdoor play.
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