outstanding outdoor spaces

Westhill Primary School, London

The staff at Westhill Primary School wanted to find a way to show their pupils that they can enjoy natural play even in busy London. They tell us how their new playground has changed attitudes towards rainy days.

Why did you want to develop your playground?

In a big urban city like London we know that it’s really important that our pupils establish a relationship with nature wherever possible. We wanted to develop our playground so that the children at Westhill Primary School would have a safe and natural space to play and learn. Our old playground was lacking inspiration and we needed to find equipment that would encourage our pupils to spend more time outdoors.

 

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

The equipment designed and installed by Playforce is innovative and exciting. We were really impressed with the high quality of their range and the variety of equipment they have available. We were able to choose from a vast selection, a process that was made much less daunting with the help of the experienced and friendly team.

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Our new playground has helped us show the children that going outside to play in London doesn’t have to be grey, big and scary.

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

The sheltered space in our playground allows us to deliver outdoor learning and play throughout the school year, whatever the weather. It has been used for lessons, performances, as a stage for story time and a platform for plays. The Archaeological Dig Pit has become a fast favourite and allows the pupils to interact with nature hands-on.

 

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

Our new playground has helped us show the children that going outside to play in London doesn’t have to be grey, big and scary. They have developed a better understanding of where is safe to play and have become more likely to ask their parents to go outside after school rather than stay indoors. The playground has inspired them and gives them a much needed motivation boost during the day.

Can you share any best practice insights you have gained?

Balancing outdoor play with the British weather can feel like fighting a losing battle. A sheltered area within the playground allows you to take lessons and playtimes outside throughout the seasons and show pupils that rainy days don’t have to be spent cooped up indoors.

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