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A Whole School Playground Development for Ambleside Primary

Outstanding Outdoor Learning Spaces Which Help Pupils to Develop Their Understanding of the World.

Ambleside Academy is a larger-than-average-sized primary school in Nottingham with 700 pupils on roll. Sales Manager, Megan Ragdale was delighted to work with the school to completely transform three key areas, offering endless opportunities for outdoor learning.

A Nursery Transformation to Foster Independence and Engagement

The first area to be developed catered for the very youngest learners. Black wet pour surfacing ensured that muddy, soggy conditions were no longer a problem and learners could enjoy being outside in all weathers. 

A Pinnacle Hill Climber and set of Get Set, Go! Blocks – The Cheviot Set help children to build upon their gross motor skills as they learn to climb and traverse, devising their own routes around the equipment. Get Set, Go! Blocks are the perfect resource for promoting oracy and problem-solving skills as pupils build their own course using the moveable blocks.

a young boy climbing across the blocks in his playground, a teacher is helping him go over

In-Out Shapes have proven to be very popular with learners working together to create their own inspiring spaces using various materials. A new splash zone containing a magnificent Water Wall allows children to investigate water flow by learning to manipulate and reposition channels.

children sat in the timber shapes in their playground

A huge Covered Sand Box comfortably sits groups of children as they engage in sensory play and explore the properties of sand. Busy chefs are active in the Mud Kitchen preparing new recipes. There is even an Interactive Paint Panel on Wheels to draw new dishes on or to write up menus!

4 children playing in the large covered sand box in their playground

Fantastic Outdoor Provision for Reception Class

In order to see progression in skills special care was taken when designing the reception classes' outdoor space, and many key areas from the nursery were repeated and enhanced.

Black Wetpour surfacing echoes the nursery environment to create a smooth finish with the addition of Deluxe Artificial Playturf to give a natural feel to the space. Splashes of ochre and terracotta Safeturf provide bursts of colour, ideal for imaginative games.

2 young children sat in the in and out shape in their playground development

A Freestanding Timber Canopy (4.8m by 3m) provides a wonderfully light and bright spot enabling children to reap the benefits of being outdoors whilst sheltered from the elements. The new Wigwam is a unique, cosy reading den where children have been sharing and discussing their favourite texts.

Manipulating Materials

A Mud Kitchen with an accompanying Mud Box allows children to learn about the properties of natural materials. The addition of the Weighing Scales and Rope and Pulley Materials Mover engages reception pupils in mathematical and scientific learning through practical hands-on exploration.

2 children playing in with the weighing scales in their new playground development

Plant growth can be observed at the Straight Planter Bench and the Construction Table provides a large, flat area where children can collaborate for small-world play.
The essential elements of ‘sand and water’ are repeated in the reception environment with a smaller Sand Table with Lid and a Water Wall with Damming Package. Pupils can work together to combine both materials whilst developing hand-eye coordination.

2 children playing on the water wall, they are pouring down water

Developing Confidence in Physical Skills

Reception opted for a Harter Fell Climber which is a step up from the Pinnacle Hill Climber located in the nursery. This open-ended unique structure helps children to develop resilience as they challenge themselves to find different ways of completing the course.

A birds eye view of the reception playground space

A set of In-Out Shapes has been repeated as they have proven to be very popular with young pupils at Ambleside with children finding various ways to move through the shapes

Making Our Mark!

A Giant Chalkboard, Whiteboard Panel on Wheels and Interactive Paint Panel on Wheels are ideal for reception pupils to practise drawing and writing in collaboration with each other. Ambleside Academy has created a fantastic communication zone with Artificial Grass Topped seats for groups to gather in the great outdoors!

A young boy drawing on the interactive and movable paint pannel

Little Superstars now have their own customised performance stage with the school motto ‘Dream, Believe, Shine,’ proudly displayed.

SEN Provision 

The final area of this development focussed on giving pupils with additional needs at Ambleside Academy their own designated outdoor space where they could flourish.

The outdoor area supports children’s learning, physical development, social and sensory needs offering a bright, fun and spacious environment.
Deluxe Artificial Grass Playturf gives a vivid, soft, tactile feel to the space combined with black wet pour rubber surfacing and blue safe turf to create a flat, smooth, calming surface.

A young boy and a teacher playing on the climbing frame

We created a ‘physical activity island’ for pupils to explore which has a Pinnacle Hill climber at the centre. Pupils can build their climbing confidence at their own pace whilst developing upper and lower body strength. A set of Get Set, Go! Blocks – The Pennine Set allow pupils to develop core strength, stability and proprioception whilst feeling secure and supported.

Enabling Creativity to Flow
African Drums act as a wonderful release for pupils, allowing them to create magical melodies in their playspace. The Weaving Panel on Posts allows children to manipulate materials to create beautiful pieces of art. Concentration, communication skills and dexterity are all enhanced when using this piece.

A special needs child playing on the African drum set

Sand and water play have been introduced with the addition of a Water Wall and Sand Table with a Lid. Pupils enjoy the sensory, calming, interactive effects of these elements and their imaginative play has been enhanced.

Mark-making equipment including an Interactive Chalkboard, Whiteboard and Paint Panel on Wheels has been hugely popular with the pupils as they enjoy freely expressing their thoughts and feelings on a large-scale surface.

Ambleside Academy now have three outstanding spaces that encompass the seven areas of EYFS learning. The outdoor spaces are available for children to use all the time and enjoyment and achievement levels have soared. School staff are very pleased and have noticed a difference in children’s confidence, resilience and social skills.

Ambleside Academy commented that, “We were really impressed with Pentagon Play from our first meeting. We were listened to and a variety of different, creative options were presented to us to suit our needs.”

Would you like to redevelop your outdoor area provision like Ambleside Primary School in Nottinghamshire? Contact us Today to Start your Jounrey with Pentagon Play