The Most Wonderful, Multi-Functional EYFS Outdoor Learning Environment Design
When we went to visit Fairstead Community Primary and discuss their proposed outdoor learning project, we were excited to discover a huge outdoor space that wrapped right around the classroom on three sides like a giant horseshoe.
It had so much potential for the most wonderful, multi-functional, EYFS outdoor learning facility!
Our playground consultant, Marion Rolph, met with Fairstead’s KS1 leader, Chloe Hoare, and school business manager, Lorraine Collins, to discuss their vision for this fabulous project and how we could help them bring it into being.
The Beginning of A Grand Design…
With a brief to create a multi-functional playground design, set in zones for Nursery and Reception children, that would support the EYFS areas of learning and development, Marion had some brilliant ideas that would help them achieve this - and a surprise up her sleeve too!
Our brand-new product, the Active Tree Top Learning Den, had just reached the final phase of design and was ready for our customers to see. Fairstead Primary loved it and it went straight into their plan!
“An excellent service from start to finish, during an extremely difficult time (the Covid-19 pandemic),” said Chloe. “Marion has been fantastic to work alongside. She has listened carefully to our vision and used our planning to develop and shape a wonderful new EYFS outdoor area with a clear focus on developing the children’s gross and fine motor skills.”
After we had removed and disposed of the old equipment and surfacing that was no longer fit for purpose, we prepared the grounds ready for the new installations.
STEAM Learning Space for Reception Children
The new Reception Playground begins at one end of the horseshoe with a super STEAM learning environment.
There’s a large Bespoke Sandpit that we built especially for the children at Fairstead.
We used sleeper edging to build up the sides and create a good depth for digging and discovering buried treasures in the sand.
We added a Rope and Pulley Materials Mover and a set of timber Weighing Scales for hands-on, investigative learning.
Next to the Sandpit, we installed our amazing Water Wall with Water Play Package.
The children at Fairstead love setting their own courses for the water to flow, experimenting with speed and direction - and with a set of artificial grass-topped steps, it means that even the littlest of legs can climb up and join in the fun!
A Space for Active Play and Physical Development
Moving along the playground, Fairstead Primary chose our Restormel Modular Play Tower as a platform for active play and gross motor development through climbing.
The climbing holds are perfect for helping to develop fine motor skills as the children grip and pull themselves up.
We resurfaced the area with our all-weather Playturf Artificial Grass, so the Tower can be enjoyed safely all throughout the year.
Our Striking and Brand New Active Raised Playhouse
Stepping across the newly laid Playbond Pathway, the children arrive at their striking new Active Tree Top Learning Den!
Fairstead Community Primary is the first school in the country to have this new product installed, and we were all so excited to see it in action!
This raised timber ski-chalet style playhouse has a beautiful, pitched roof from top to bottom, with fun in-built windows and entry and exit points. There’s a look-out balcony and the covered deck spaces at ground and raised levels are ideal for den building and role-play games.
There’s a climbing ramp, staircase with handrail and a ladder offering different levels of challenge for children to choose how they wish to reach the decks.
Each of these options work the children’s gross and fine motor skills in different ways through larger stretch and reach movements, and smaller grab and grasp actions.
They will need to balance, developing their co-ordination skills and core strength. A long Fireman’s Pole at the back provides a quick and exhilarating exit!
A Fun Trim Trail to Improve Balance and Co-ordination
Alongside the Active Playhouse we set out a fun Active Trim Trail onto soft, textured Playturf Artificial Grass.
The Active Trail features a series of Stepping Logs, a Clatter Bridge and Linked Beams for the children to travel across in any which way they choose, developing their balance and co-ordination as they go.
Sparking Children’s Inner Creativity
We used sleeper edging to build a huge Bespoke Mud Pit for sensory exploration and messy play - there’s always time for mud-pie making at Fairstead Community Primary!
There’s a Performance Stage with Den Posts for singing, dancing and star performances. The children can even design and build their own scenery using the thread holes and grooves in the Den Posts.
To extend outdoor musical play, we installed a set of Outdoor Musical Instruments on Posts and Drum Seats for the children to create their own magnificent sounds.
A Captivating Nursery Garden That Improves School Readiness
The Nursery children at Fairstead were in need of a climbing challenge, too. Our Pinnacle Hill Climber with Platform is the perfect entry-level climber and the ideal choice for the new Nursery Garden.
It’s a flexible frame with multiple entry and exit points to allow the children to build their climbing skills and confidence at their own pace.
A set of Linked Beams and a Fence Mounted Shapes Target expand the children’s options for developing their balance and hand-eye/hand-foot co-ordination while they play.
Our captivating Hill Den brings the fun factor to Fairstead’s Nursery Garden - with a playful, domed grass roof and portholes to peep through, it’s a lovely cosy place to hide and seek or snuggle up with a book.
We added plenty of essential mark-making and fine-motor facilities with a Giant Chalkboard, a Weaving Panel and a Giant Whiteboard on Posts.
We laid a selection of our bright and colourful Saferturf Surfacing under and around the equipment in the Nursery Garden to make it an all-weather zone.
It’s a kind, impact-absorbing surface, offering protection from trips and falls as younger children are finding their feet.
A Real-Life Roadway and Lots of Physical Challenges!
The grounds at Fairstead are blessed with some beautiful, mature trees. We were able to take advantage of this at the opposite end of the horseshoe to create a stunning rest space for the children, wrapping a feature Octagonal Tree Seat With Backrest around the trunk of one.
We landscaped the open space next to this, preparing the ground and resurfacing with our Playturf Artificial Grass.
We sculpted a series of interesting Playground Mounds into this for play at different heights. It’s now an all-weather space with a soft, sensory texture.
Within this space, we laid our Black Sports Carpet Roadway with true-to-life safety markings and zebra crossings.
It’s a superb, spacious area for the children to exercise on their bikes and trikes, furthering their gross motor and co-ordination skills and enjoying some important ‘life lesson’ role-play games with their friends.
A clever Solar Powered Stop Watch and a Giant Chalkboard on Posts even allow the children to time one another as they race, record their scores and develop numeracy skills as they play!
In the centre of the Roadway, we installed our favourite Climb Through Tunnel Hill and a Twist Net - two essential confidence-building pieces for developing young children’s gross motor skills and physical literacy.
This an ideal playground for the children at Fairstead Community Primary to experience active, physical play and improve both their gross and fine motor skills every day, all year round - which is exactly what they set out to achieve.
Does your playground need an overhaul? We’re here to help! As the UK’s number 1 playground provider, we have been designing and installing outstanding outdoor learning environments since 1998.
Alternatively, you can view all of the stunning grand playground designs we have completed in Norfolk on our dedicated Norfolk page here.