Injecting Fun and New Opportunities For Learning And Play Into The Outdoor Environment
The children at The Cathedral School of St Mary in Plymouth are thrilled with the new additions to their playground. They’re having fun, exploring and learning, getting active and staying fit and healthy outdoors!
This Devonshire primary school had some very exciting plans for developing a multi-use outdoor environment, that would support learning both at The Cathedral School, and within the surrounding community.
They have some fantastic community links and our outdoor learning consultant, Nicole Fairman, was delighted to be involved with this wonderful project to create a different teaching and learning space for them all.
When we visited the school, head teacher Mark Dyson identified some clear priorities for the outdoor space, which we were able to fulfill in the new playground design.
They wanted an open-ended, flexible, learning space, with zones featuring resources that would support the children’s physical development and communication and language development, and offer some great messy play opportunities.
A zone for messy and sensory play games
We created an easy-to-set-up messy sensory zone with our magnificent Water Wall with Grass-Topped Steps. This unique resource allows the children to design their own water courses and to connect the clear channels to the school’s existing water table, extending the scope of play and adding some fantastic STEM learning elements.
The grass-topped steps are there to make sure that all of the children are able to access the higher and lower water channels, so that everyone can join in with the engineering!
A covered sand box for sensory and physical development has brought messy play to life in the zone, with the contrasting textures offering the children plenty to explore.
Not only will this type of play encourage skills such as problem solving and team building, it will also help to develop the children's communication and language ability.
Improving communication and language skills through storytelling
For a separate teaching and learning space that teachers can use for storytelling, reading and writing and group work, we placed our favorite Storytelling Circle.
We installed the giant chalkboard and whiteboard at the appropriate height to allow the children to engage independently in mark-making activities and even role-play.
It’s a useful additional learning space to use for interventions, too.
An adventurous space for physical development
Our fabulous Tryfan Climber with Platform and Fireman's Pole is a large, open-ended play frame, which allows groups of children to play on it all at the same time.
It’s a great addition to The Cathedral School’s playground for younger children as they are able to choose their own level of challenge.
The more nervous can climb on from just 20cm off the ground and traverse along the low beams and net areas, building their climbing confidence over time. The more adventurous will relish the opportunity to climb and jump off the climbing wall panel and the high levels at 1.4m from the ground!
The open-ended nature of the Tryfan Climber means that children can be really creative and sociable in the ways that they play together - and with so many different ways to climb, they can develop their skills of how to assess and manage risk.
The Platform and Fireman’s Pole will open up their imaginations and allow them to find fun ways to play, making dens and generally being very active!
A low-maintenance surface for all-weather play
We brightened up the outdoor space and turned it into a more inviting, all-weather place to play and learn by resurfacing with our superb Playturf Artificial Grass for Schools. We installed it with shockpads underneath the Tryfan Climber for extra “bounce” to protect the children as they play.
The Playturf is very popular with children as it’s a soft, inviting and tactile surface to sit on. It’s a great investment for The Cathedral School as it’s a low-maintenance, porous surface that is incredibly hard wearing and will be able to withstand the heavy footfall expected within the area.
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If you would like to view more examples of our playground projects in Plymouth, visit our dedicated page for projects completed in Plymouth here.