outstanding outdoor spaces

Stone CE Combined School, Buckinghamshire

Play isn’t just a playground or classroom activity at Stone CE Combined School, it’s both. The staff wanted to find a way to make movement between the two more flexible and creative. A new Poddely set has helped them deliver this across the curriculum.
Why did you want to develop your playground?
Finding innovative and interesting ways to play has always been one of our top priorities at Stone CE Combined School. We knew that free flow play was something we needed to deliver more regularly and we wanted to do it in a fun and creative fashion. We wanted to find equipment that would let us move freely between inside and outside without sacrificing a lot of space.

What were the key elements that made Playforce stand out from other providers?
The Playforce website caught our eye. It was useful to be able to see other schools that have used the company and watch videos of the equipment in action. We didn’t want to invest in fixed equipment and the Poddely sets that Playforce offer were the perfect fit for our situation. The team talked us through all of our options and gave us a training session to ensure that we were getting the most out of our equipment.
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The problem solving and creative skills they’ve applied to the Poddely set are being used elsewhere during school time.
How are you using the space to deliver outdoor learning and educational play?
Originally we intended to use our Poddely set during break times so that pupils had the option to move their play between the classroom and the playground. However, we have since discovered the benefits of incorporating it into other aspects of the curriculum. It is a creative and unique way to add variety to lessons and allows the children to enjoy hands-on experiments and demonstrations.

What are the biggest benefits you have seen for the children?
The children are fascinated by the Poddely set and they love finding new ways to use it. The older pupils love to show the younger ones their latest inventions and we’re very impressed with the imaginative inventions they’ve come up with. The problem solving and creative skills they’ve applied to the Poddely set are being used elsewhere during school time. It’s improved their motivation and productivity, they are inspired by working in new environments.
Can you share any practice insights you have gained?
As staff, no matter how long we spend trying to invent new ways to use the Poddely set, the children always come up with something more imaginative. It’s best to give them a few hints to get them started and then leave them to their own devices. We’re continually impressed with the creative ways they play, we’ve seen everything from opera stages to princess castles.
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