outstanding outdoor spaces

South View Infant School, Hampshire

South View Infant School wanted to create a permanent playground setup that the children could use to combine learning and play outside the classroom. Acting Headteacher Debbie Bertocchi tells us how the project has improved outdoor play and educational learning.

Why did you want to develop your playground?

Our school is in an area that, historically, has had quite a lot of problems with vandalism. These problems meant that, until now, we had to take equipment to and from the play area every time the children wanted to play outside. This was something that was taking up a disproportionate amount of time and decreased the children’s quality of play.

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

Playforce has a fantastic selection of products that are all suitable for younger children. It was helpful to be able to speak to the representative about our ideas and needs. In particular we found that the team was really keen to talk about what we wanted rather than what the company could do. Playforce has been really flexible with our project and were happy to adapt plans after they had been drawn up.
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The biggest benefit is how much the playground has enhanced the children’s quality of play. We’ve now got the time to develop the areas and the children are using the space really well.

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

With the help of Playforce we have been able to develop distinct areas for the children to play in. This means that we can now spend our time enhancing the playground rather than just putting out the equipment. We now have permanent sand and water features that can be used by the children any time.

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

The biggest benefit is how much the playground has enhanced the children’s quality of play. We’ve now got the time to develop the areas and the children are using the space really well.

Can you share any best practice insights you’ve gained?

It’s important to talk things through with staff, pupils and parents and to reflect all of the ideas put forward. When you’re working with a small space, a lot of thought needs to go into choosing the best pieces of equipment that give you the most flexibility.
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