outstanding outdoor spaces

Stanley Grove Junior and Infant School, Yorkshire

Exercise used to be restricted to sports and team activities at Stanley Grove Junior and Infant School but their new playground equipment has given individual children the opportunity to take part in active play throughout the day.
Why did you want to develop your playground?
We’re always trying to find ways to make getting active fun at Stanley Grove and we wanted to develop an outdoor space that would encourage our pupils to enjoy exercise. We wanted to change any negative attitudes towards exercise and give our children a positive look on being healthy.

What were the key elements that made Playforce stand out from other providers?
We looked at a few providers but none of them stood out to be as vibrant and innovative as Playforce. Their equipment is designed to encourage children to be active and creative in a safe environment whilst having plenty of fun. The team was enthusiastic and friendly – they helped us see how much could be done with our space and figure out the best way to use it. They are passionate about play and this is reflected in their fun, educational and unique designs.
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The outdoor environment has inspired the children and we’ve seen a surge in active play. [...] The children are healthier and happier and this has made them more motivated and productive in class.
How are you using the space to deliver outdoor learning and educational play?
Although most of our equipment has been installed with activity in mind, we’re looking for ways to incorporate it into lessons too. We can make experiments more interactive and reenact moments from history or storytelling. At break times we let the children get creative with their play and we don’t limit their imaginations. We’ve been really impressed with the variety of games and activities they’ve made up so far.

What are the biggest benefits you have seen for the children?
The outdoor environment has inspired the children and we’ve seen a surge in active play. Exercise is an ‘activity’ throughout the day. The children are healthier and happier and this has made them more motivated and productive in class. Ensuring that the equipment is suitable for all ages and abilities allows the younger and older children to develop their skills in their own time.
Can you share any practice insights you have gained?
In a combined Junior and Infant school it’s important to choose a playground design that will suit everyone. We’ve noticed that a good variety of equipment encourages the older and more confident pupils to help those that are a little more wary. This has improved their social and behavioural skills, something we didn’t expect to see so quickly.
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