outstanding outdoor spaces

St Keyna Primary School, Somerset

The pupils of St. Keyna’s Primary School all worked together to raise the money for their new playground. Headteacher Adrienne Hughes explains how the project has encouraged the children to be innovative and imaginative as well as getting active.
Why did you want to develop your playground?
When we moved into our lovely new school, the playground was something of a blank canvas. We decided that this was a fantastic opportunity to think carefully about developing our school grounds into an outdoor space that would maximize exciting learning opportunities for the children.

What were the key elements that made Playforce stand out from other providers?
We had experienced the high quality of Playforce equipment before and knew that active, growing children need equipment that will keep up with them. Playforce provides fantastic products that are tried and tested with good guarantees and after-sales service. We were working on a budget and we were able to negotiate a competitive price with our very helpful Outdoor Grounds Consultant and design team.
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The children love the new equipment. We encouraged them to raise the money to buy it and this has increased their sense of ownership.
How are you using the space to deliver outdoor learning & educational play?
Within our outdoor learning environment we have been able to set up unique areas for each Key Stage, creating an open space everyone. Our Foundation pupils have a lovely woodland area that has been enhanced with a Playforce Stage and Storyteller Chair. The children love to put on plays and make up stories, whilst also improving their language skills. The infants can enhance their balancing and climbing techniques on the low equipment that has been located over a safe surface (which we designed to look like a river, providing the backdrop for many different adventures). The beautiful Shelter is available to all of the children and we use it to run a range of learning activities including drama and science. The extensive Activity Trail is used by our junior pupils to help develop confidence and the skills required to work within a team.

What are the biggest benefits you have seen for the children?
The children love the new equipment. We encouraged them to raise the money to buy it and this has increased their sense of ownership. We have been amazed by the inventive and imaginative ways that they have used the items and it is lovely to see how their co-operation and teamwork skills are developing. The opportunities presented for imaginative play have had a noticeably positive impact on their language development.
Can you share any best practice insights you’ve gained?
Fundraising for projects like these can be a problem and we’ve found that an annual enterprise week can be a great help. We lend each class £20 and they have to use it to invest in an enterprise to raise the funds for equipment of their choice. The children have been really creative and the Smoothie Bar, complete with flashing disco lights, was particularly memorable!
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