outstanding outdoor spaces

St Joseph's Catholic Primary School, North Yorkshire

The playground at St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School in Harrogate was lacking the resources to provide their KS1 children with outdoor play and learning. School Governor Alex Stappard tells us how they developed their playground into an outdoor space full of ample learning opportunities.

Why did you want to develop your playground?

We wanted to create a space for the children at St Joseph’s that could be used as an outdoor classroom and play area. We previously did not have enough up to date outdoor provision for our KS1 children and this was our top priority when designing and developing the space. We wanted to ensure that our whole school would be able to reap the benefits of outdoor learning and play. 

 

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

We were initially drawn to Playforce because of the quality of their materials. We wanted to create a space with outdoor equipment that would be inspiring and interactive as well as safe for the children. The value for money was an extra bonus and enabled us to create the perfect playground within our budget. 

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Taking lessons outdoors has inspired the children and has enabled them to learn in an interactive and natural environment.

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

Our new playground is being utilised in every possible way to cover all areas of the national curriculum. We are able to teach science lessons in the sandpit and Mud Kitchen or learn about maths with the Flow Wall. The Tipis are a great space for our younger children and the Rectangular Shelter means we can we move into the playground come rain or shine. The children love the hands on experience whilst learning. 

 

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

We love to use our new outdoor space during play time but the biggest benefits we have seen for the children are the increased opportunities for outdoor learning. Taking lessons outdoors has inspired the children and has enabled them to learn in an interactive and natural environment. They love to experiment in the Mud Kitchen and the Poddely Set provides fantastic imaginative and creative play. 

Any other comments about your experience of working with Playforce?

All of the staff were tidy and efficient, they left no trace behind after they had built our playground. The team were very helpful when it came to answering all of our questions and they worked hard to fit the build within our timeframe. 

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