outstanding outdoor spaces

Winterbourne Infant School, Surrey

A new Poddely set at Winterbourne Infant School is providing the staff and children with the flexibility they needed for free flow play. They tell us how the new way to play has benefited their daily routine.

Why did you want to develop your playground?

We’re always looking for new and innovative ways to encourage more free flow play in school. We wanted to give our pupils the opportunity to move between the classroom and the playground throughout the day, as and when it was appropriate. We needed to find something that wouldn’t require too much floor space and would be easy to pack up when the bell rings.

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

A lot of the other providers we had looked at only offered fixed equipment or play sets that take time and effort to put together. The Poddely sets offered by Playforce are flexible and diverse, we loved seeing the set in action before we bought one and hearing about other schools that have experienced it. The team talked us through the process of setting up and packing away and showed us how we could encourage the children to think and play creatively.
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Finding new ways to play with the Poddely set has developed the pupils’ creative thinking and problem solving skills.

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

The Poddely set has so many uses we’ve been able to incorporate it into a mixture of outdoor learning and educational play. The set can be transferred easily between the classroom and the playground, meaning that wherever we go, the set comes with us. We’ve used it for props and experiments in lessons and it has been central to imaginative and creative play at break times.

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

Finding new ways to play with the Poddely set has developed the pupils’ creative thinking and problem solving skills. We’ve seen these transferred onto a range of other academic activities and reflected in their daily approach to new challenges. They are inspired by having the option to work in new environments and motivated by the variation in their routine.

Can you share any practice insights you have gained?

A Poddely set allows you to bring more free flow play into the school routine without sacrificing space. It’s fascinating to let the children run wild with the equipment and see what they create. We try not to influence their creations, only encourage them, it’s easy to see why Playforce say that the uses are limitless!
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