outstanding outdoor spaces

Stepping Stones District Specialist Centre, Wiltshire

Stepping Stones in Trowbridge developed their playground into a stimulating outdoor environment accessible to all of their pupils. Barbara Jansen tells us how their new outdoor space encourages the children to get active and be creative.

Why did you want to develop your playground?

We have recently relocated Stepping Stones Nursery to a new building and we were very keen to plan an inclusive stimulating outdoor environment to support children with special needs. We wanted to create a space that was accessible to everyone and would combine outdoor learning and educational play. The development needed to fit into our busy schedule during the relocation.

 

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

Playforce stood out for us because of its professional reputation as an established company. The wide range of robust and suitable equipment that offer is also very impressive, compared to other providers. Moving a school to a new location can be chaotic, so the short lead times that Playforce offers, to help plan and install, made the whole process a lot less stressful.

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The outdoor learning environment that we have developed is well planned to encourage exploration. The arrangement of the equipment incorporates quiet areas alongside busy activities.

How are we using the space to deliver outdoor learning & educational play?

The children at Stepping Stones Nursery love the new space and we aim to use it in every session to extend and support all areas of learning and development. Combining learning and play in the great outdoors has really inspired the children and encouraged them to try something new. The space has been designed to be accessible to our special needs children so that everyone can come together to share the experience.

 

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

The outdoor learning environment that we have developed is well planned to encourage exploration. The arrangement of the equipment incorporates quiet areas alongside busy activities. We asked for flexibility and the children have benefited from the fixed play equipment that can be styled into a wide range of imaginative activities. We’ve seen activity huts turned into garages and netting turned into tents.

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

Consider all of the children in your school when planning your outdoor space. Make it accessible for everyone and think about how you can bring out the best in each pupil. We have found that creating both quiet and busy areas allows the children much more freedom and choice.

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