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Outdoor EYFS Teacher Training Day at Harris Academy, Croydon

Empowering Teachers to Propel EYFS Children’s Learning with a Teacher Training Day

Sam Flatman spent the morning with the teachers at Harris Primary Academy in Croydon to conduct a day of "Pentagon Product Training" with their early years team.

We recently worked with the school to revolutionise their outdoor play spaces: transforming them from blank tarmac canvases into vibrant areas that target all areas of the curriculum!

Teachers learning how to effectively use their new outdoor learning environment

Truly valuing the importance of outdoor learning and play, the school wanted to ensure they knew how they could make the most of their exciting, new outdoor learning environment.

An outdoor teacher training day conducted at Harris Primary Academy

We also wanted to ensure that the teachers at Harris Academy had the knowledge of how to use each of the new resources to empower them to propel the children’s learning, enhancing their educational play experience.

“If you want to see improvements in the results of your year 6, you have to invest in the early years as it all starts here developing their love of learning.” – Laura Bairstow Early Years Consultant and Associate Vice Principal

A teacher training day conducted by pentagon play

A Practical and Interactive Training Day

Even though Storm Darcy had brought plenty of snow overnight, Sam and the staff wrapped up warm and headed outdoors to have a little bit of fun in the winter wonderland.

He introduced the staff to each of the new pieces of equipment installed and even had a go himself!

“Being able to have a go and swing, climb and play on the equipment we have installed is so much fun!” said Sam.

Sam Flatman from pentagon play swinging on a climbing frame

Messy Play Lesson Ideas

Firstly, Sam focused on our Messy Play Tables on Wheels, Sand Table and Water Table and explained how they could be used to their full potential, whilst making key curricular links to Understanding of the World, Mathematics and Communication and Language.

Some of the messy play activities we suggested were:

  • Investigating volume
  • Sinking and Floating
  • Cascading water and gravity
  • Imaginative themed play games

Pentagon Play's Teacher training day with harris primary academy

Sam also explained some of the handy features on these resources.

How the lids of each of the tables can be stored away whilst in use and the locking wheels on the moveable resources, that ensure they stay in the position while the children are playing.

Sam Flatman showing teachers how to effectively use messy play tables on wheels

An Imaginative World to Support Both Adult and Child-Led Learning

Sam then moved over to our open-ended, imaginative Giant Playhouse. This flexible resource relies on creative thinking and the inclusion of various supporting resources.

Getting down to the children’s level in the playhouse, Sam explained how teachers can lead the play through linking the imaginative world to classroom topics or real-life play scenarios, such as vets, restaurants or doctors.

Sam Flatman inside a giant playhouse

Den making holes in the top of the playhouse and a giant chalkboard to the rear ensures children and staff can dress the space how they wish, providing a space for both adult-led or child-led learning through play activities.

The playhouse is perfect for supporting communication and language, PSED, social skills, turn taking and sharing and understanding of the world!

Sam flatman showing teachers how to use a giant playhouse to propel ey children's learning

Supporting Physical Play Activities in Nursery

Next, we moved onto the wide range of physical play equipment we have installed to widen the children’s outdoor physical play opportunities.

In the nursery’s outdoor area, we installed a fantastic introductory climbing frame, the Pinnacle Hill Climber and our innovative Get Set, Go! Blocks!

Sam flatman showing teachers how a pinnacle hill climber improves physical development outcomes

Sam explained how the staff could move the Get Set, Go! Blocks around to create more challenging courses for the children to conquer as they begin to build up climbing confidence, co-ordination, balance and lower body strength.

They’re also good fun for traditional play time games like the floor is lava or mathematical learning as numbers are drawn on the chalkboard sides and children hop from number to number, exploring number as they play.

Pentagon play conducting an outdoor teacher training day

The Pinnacle Hill Climber is our smallest playground climbing frame featuring smaller, rounded logs, which are perfect for little hands to grip and grasp.

Jumping up there himself, Sam highlighted how the frame provides plenty of fine motor skill development opportunities as the children move their way around the frame before taking a leap of faith from the highest point!

Sam flatman climbing on a pinnacle hill climber

Improving Physical Development Outcomes in Reception

In the Reception children’s outdoor area, we installed our Harter Fell Climber with Platform and Fireman’s Pole. This climbing frame is a step up from those physical play obstacles in nurseries space.

Swinging from the ropes and the fireman’s pole, Sam showed the teachers how the children can use this fantastic resource to improve their upper body strength, fine and gross motor skills and climbing confidence through play!

Sam flatman hanging from a firemans pole attached to a log climbing frame

He also explained how the children can develop their positional vocabulary as they commentate on how they’re using the climbing frame - going down the fireman’s pole, under the ropes and over the beams!

With children spending so much time home learning and not being able to practice and develop their key physical skills, Sam felt it was important to highlight how these skills can be improved in their new outdoor environment.

Sam flatman swinging from the ropes of a log climbing frame

A Social Seating Space for Communication and Language

Our Walk and Talk Seating Circle was next on the agenda, with Sam exploring how this open-ended resource can be used for den building, physical development, sensory play activities and collaborative social games.

Walk and talk seating circle installed onto the school playground

Using loose play resources, the circle can easily be transformed into a den as the children through materials across the top of the seats or thread them through the den making holes to create their very own secret lair: perfect for child-led construction activities.

Sam also explained that little learners can use this space to sit and socialise and look and talk through the backs of the seats: improving their social skills and communication and language.

Sam flatman showing teachers how to effectively use the walk and talk seating circle for outdoor learning

Playground Stores to Improve Independence

Two huge Self Selecting Stores in each of the outdoor environments are perfect for promoting independence through self-selection.

Loose play resources, den building materials and chalk can all be placed into the store to provide the children with everything they need and allow them to make their own decisions about their play.

Pentagon Play conducting a teacher training day

With a lot of modelling, whole classes of children can learn how to self-select their own loose activities and resources to enhance their playtime games and most importantly, learn to place the resources they take back into the store once they’re finished play.

Sam explained how each of the containers can be labelled with pictures and words to ensure the unit stays both tidy and allows children to easily find what they’re looking for.

Sam flatman showing teachers how to promote independence by using the self selecting store

Sam had a fantastic day with the staff at Harris Primary Academy teaching them how they can make best use of their outdoor space.

“The best part of the job is empowering teachers to propel their children’s learning forward and being able to swing, climb and play on the equipment is so much fun!” says Sam.

Would you like to improve your EYFS outdoor learning environment and receive the training and knowledge to make the most of your new space once complete? Explore our full range of EYFS Playground Equipment Here and begin your playground wishlist! 

Pentagon Play are always on hand to conduct "Pentagon Product Training" days to help you and your staff make effective use of your newly installed play spaces! Contact Us Here to begin your journey with Pentagon Play!