pentagon play logo

An Incredible Playground for Little Learners at Lea Forest!

Inspirational headteacher, Craig Clarke-Castello of Lea Forest Academy in Birmingham had big plans for the school’s year 1 and 2 playground space.

The once blank canvas is now split into different designated zones with a host of interesting obstacles and equipment to engage pupils.

Outdoor Learning Consultant, Sam Jones, was excited to work with Lea Forest and designed numerous areas to promote gross and fine motor development, oracy skills, healthy and active lifestyles and most importantly a love for outdoor learning.

Promoting Physical Fitness

Our Puzzlewood Forest Circuit certainly has the ‘Wow factor!’ Children’s climbing confidence has been growing as they tackle the many challenging elements such as the swinging log crossing, net tunnel and zigzag rope balance.

This impressive structure builds children’s balance, strength and core stability whilst promoting teamwork, turn-taking and respect for others.

Pupils have been sent into a spin with the addition of Forest Roll Over Bars! This dynamic piece allows children to hang, sway, pull themselves up and even hang upside down! This resource is able to stimulate the vestibular sense and for some children who crave this type of play, it can help to improve focus and attention levels.

A climbing frame in a playground at lea forest primary school

We even managed to add a mountain climbing element into the active zone with our Forest Climbing Wall Traverse. Pupils must master the boulder-like grip holds in order to reach the realistic craggy tops. Friends have offered each other plenty of encouragement when learning how to place feet and hold onto the grips correctly.

To ensure ultimate safety in the active zone we installed shockpad tiles underneath our Deluxe Artificial Grass Playturf. Pupils now have a soft surface to land on that is also extremely hard-wearing and durable. Playturf has brightened the playspace and gives a natural look and feel which is extremely inviting for pupils.

We also used Playturf to create an all-weather area designated for ball games. Previously football tended to take over the entire playground whereas now pupils have a set space with inlaid sports lines. Our Artificial Grass meets FIFA’S rigorous durability tests and is the perfect place for primary school matches!

Let the Show Begin!

The centrepiece of the new performance zone is the Large Performance Stage. Pupils are free to express themselves outdoors, helping them to develop singing, dancing and acting skills in front of an audience. The chalkboard backdrops allow everyone to be involved in performances whether it be set designing or composing lyrics.

key figures for the primary school playground

A Musical Triad helps children to work together to provide musical accompaniment to shows whilst developing an understanding of rhythm and pattern. A set of five Drum Seats is now home to the ‘playground band’ who have experimented with hitting different parts of the seat to create different sounds.

Pupils adore working together around the Group Batonka, creating wonderful tunes and sounds by hitting each of the pipes with the paddle beaters. This collaborative resource helps to develop memory and creativity through sensory elements.

Taking Literacy Lessons Outdoors

Situated just outside the school library, two wigwams offer cosy outdoor reading dens. The wigwams provide pupils with a quieter space where imaginations can sparkle as children enter into the worlds of their favourite texts.

After reading, pupils may paint or draw their favourite scene or character on one of three Interactive Paint Panels on Wheels. Pupils can create different masterpieces every day and the panels can be moved to different areas depending on needs.

story telling area in a playground

A carefully placed literary zone consists of a Freestanding Storytelling Chair surrounded by five comfortable, moveable grass-topped seats. An Interactive Chalkboard and Whiteboard on wheels allow year 1 and 2 teachers to configure this area as they wish. Reading groups and phonic sessions take place here and children independently use this area to practise mark-making and story writing.

STEM Learning in Action!

Lea Forest Academy opted for our biggest Play Builder resource - the Engineer Set. The set contains 75 different pieces allowing plenty of pupils to create and construct together. Pupils have mastered joining the blocks, creating their own obstacle courses and structures. Every day there is a new idea to build or refine whether it be a throne, a plane or a skyscraper!

Strength and gross motor skills have been enhanced as children move the pieces with thought and care. 

two young girls playing with constructional play equipment in their playground

A Mini Construction Skip with Play Blocks completes this zone. Children develop spatial awareness and hand-eye coordination as blocks are positioned and stacked. This set is the ideal addition to small-world play allowing pupils to extend their play and communicate their ideas.

It was wonderful to pay a return visit to Lea Forest. Pupils clearly love their new equipment and explore each different zone with confidence. Learners demonstrate independence and resilience by taking risks and turning to each other for encouragement when needed.

The team at Lea Forest commented on our fantastic team of friendly playground installers who finished the development ahead of time with fantastic professionalism. Staff are extremely pleased with every aspect of the project from the initial design process to the finished outcome and would 100% recommend Pentagon Play to neighbouring schools.

If you would like to redevelop your outdoor area just like Lea Forest Primary Academy has, then please don't hesitate to get in contact with one of our friendly yet expert outdoor learning consultants here!