outstanding outdoor spaces

Yarm Preparatory School, Redcar and Cleveland

Yarm Preparatory School wanted to find a way to make the great outdoors even more fun. They tell us how their new playground equipment means that their children can make lots of noise and get their hands dirty, as well as learning as they go along.
Why did you want to develop your playground?
Interacting with the natural environment is really important to us at Yarm Preparatory School and we wanted to find a way to encourage our pupils to be more creative and imaginative outdoors. We wanted to develop our playground into a space where all of our pupils’ senses and imaginations were stimulated and, most importantly, where they could have fun.

What were the key elements that made Playforce stand out from other providers?
Playforce had caught our eye and their school grounds consultant was friendly from the start. They were encouraging on the phone without being ‘salesy’ and immediately knew what would work well in our playground. They kept us updated at all stages of the project, we always felt as though we were in safe hands.
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The biggest benefit we’ve noticed is that the children are really passionate about getting outside and active in a natural environment.
How are you using the space to deliver outdoor learning and educational play?
We wanted our playground to be interactive and exciting. We’ve got a range of musical instruments so the children can make as much noise as they want away from the classrooms, as well as using them to learn new skills. We also chose Seating Planters to reconnect our pupils with nature and wildlife. They love learning about the flowers and vegetables that they’re growing and can’t wait to take them home to show their parents.

What are the biggest benefits you have seen for the children?
The biggest benefit we’ve noticed is that the children are really passionate about getting outside and active in a natural environment. They’ll choose to play in the Play Lodge rather than on a computer and we think that’s fantastic. Having a space that is completely dedicated to fun has filled them with energy, they race back to the classroom to tell us what new games and activities they’ve invented. We’re really looking forward to seeing what else they come up with over the coming months and years.
Can you share any practice insights you have gained?
Children love to get their hands dirty. Our planters have been particularly popular and can even be incorporated into science lessons and experiments. The same can be said for the Mini-Beast Exploration Table. Creepy crawlies are always a favourite, even if the teachers aren’t quite as keen!
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