outstanding outdoor spaces

St Joseph’s RC Primary School, Hertfordshire

Inspired by the Olympics, St Joseph’s RC Primary School developed a playground that would make the transition between play and sport easy and fun.

Why did you want to develop your playground?

The 2012 Year of Sport really inspired our pupils and we wanted to find a way to continue the Olympic legacy a year on. We wanted to encourage the transition from play to sport in an environment that would also promote active play and skills development. Developing our playground was the perfect way to fulfill all of our requirements.

 

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

Playforce is passionate about play and getting children active! We were impressed by the variety of equipment on offer and were encouraged by the School Grounds Consultant’s evident experience. We felt that the equipment would encourage active, healthy play but also make sure that our pupils were having plenty of fun in the great outdoors. We felt involved in the project from start to finish – there were no hidden costs or complications.

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The opportunity to take part in more outdoor and active play has given our pupils a great boost of motivation. It’s a new way for them to burn off energy so they return to the classroom relaxed and ready for the rest of their lessons.

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

The Active Trail we chose for our playground allows the children to take part in active play whatever their skill level or confidence. At play times it encourages imaginative role play but during lessons we can use the stop clock to add an element of healthy competition and numeracy learning. The children love to see if they can beat their personal bests and we’re impressed with their sportsmanship when challenging each other.

 

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

The opportunity to take part in more outdoor and active play has given our pupils a great boost of motivation. It’s a new way for them to burn off energy so they return to the classroom relaxed and ready for the rest of their lessons. Setting them physical challenges on the equipment has encouraged them to try to beat their personal bests in all aspects of the school day – they strive to work harder than before.

Can you share any practice insights you have gained?

Play and sport don’t have to be considered as two completely separate activities – and certainly not separate from curriculum learning, either. Creative playground equipment can make the transition between the two easy and, most importantly, fun. Adding an element of challenge to the playground helps keep pupils on their toes and always aiming high.

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