We were delighted to be invited back to work with Lower Halstow Primary School in Sittingbourne, Kent, by Head of School Michelle Crowe.
We have had the pleasure of working with Lower Halstow Primary on previous playground installations - and on this occasion Michelle and her pupils wanted us to create a brand new Trim Trail area to keep everyone, from EYFS to KS2, active and using their imaginations outdoors at break times. And it’s certainly working!
Our Outdoor Learning Consultant, Rachel Westbury returned to Lower Halstow to meet Michelle along with the Executive Headteacher and Chair of the PTA, to discuss their ideas and hopes for their new outdoor project.
The idea of a Trim Trail originally came from the children - they had seen trim trails in use in other places and very much wanted one of their own on the school field. Michelle explained that the PTA had been saving for some sort of exciting, active play project that would benefit all of the children and support their physical development.
The concept of a Trim Trail tied in perfectly with their objective of trying to get pupils more active and engaged at break and lunchtimes, with the added benefit of being a brilliant additional resource for PE lessons.
Our innovative Trim Trail combinations are open-ended and flexible, with children able to jump on anywhere they choose and climb in many different ways. Fantastically good fun, they’re ideal for getting children moving - targeting core, upper and lower body physical development, improving balance and proprioception and enhancing gross and fine motor skills.
Schools can choose from our pre-designed Trim Trail layouts that our experts have created to support specific skill sets. Alternatively or additionally, schools can pick and choose pieces from our huge range of individual Trim Trail challenges to create their own, bespoke Trim Trail design.
For Lower Halstow Primary, together (and with essential input from the children!) we created a top-notch Trim Trail that features the following favourites:
A set of 5 Stepping Logs - they require concentration and coordination to carefully step cross!
A Double-Sided Horizontal Climbing Wall Traverse - scramble for grip strength, logical thinking, balance and hand-eye-foot coordination
A Horizontal Swinging Log Crossing - failsafe kinetic fun great for developing motor skills, balance and core strength
A Swinging Log Bridge with Rope Handrails - a jungle-style wobbly crossing for more sensory integration and imaginative play for thrill-seekers!
An Incline Balance Beam Crossing - for building confidence in essential balance ability as children move along and learn to maintain control of their speed and position
Forest Pull Up and Roll Over Bars - an ideal vestibular activity centre that is perfect for developing upper body strength and fundamental movement skills!
We removed the existing turf in the area and, in keeping with the play environment, laid natural-looking soft green Playturf Artificial Grass to our high play specification standards, all along the length of the Trim Trail. This has ensured an all-weather activity space so that the children can enjoy staying active outdoors all year round.
Upside down and round and round….keep those feet up off the ground!
“Now it’s been installed, the children absolutely love it!” Michelle tells us. “We have a rota at break and lunchtimes because it’s so popular, so they all get to go on it each week…
We’ve well and truly hit what we were trying to achieve. The children are more active at playtimes and there is never a time that it’s not used. The teachers use it during PE lessons linked in with the Daily Mile. As motivation and reward for good behaviour - it’s worked really well for that too. For example, the 2 classes that have the best attendance each week get to go on it for an extra session - it’s a great incentive!”
One of the great things about installing our playground equipment and creating our outdoor play environments during term time is that the children get to see first-hand how their space is built - all the tools, tricks, trades and trucks! They love to watch it come to life and they can learn so much from their observations!
“Even though it was term time, the installation didn’t impact us at all because the materials were stored away in our car park.” Michelle explained. “The area was really well cordoned off and the team that were working on it kept behind that. The children liked to look over and see what they were doing and they would chat to them - they were really nice giving them little clues about what they might be getting but they still kept an element of surprise!
The fact the Trim Trail was installed in term time didn’t put me off in the slightest. It worked absolutely fine and it was quite exciting for the children to see the different stages. They were interested to see how it happened and they got more and more excited as they saw it coming together.”
“We’ve used Pentagon for a couple of projects and we’ve never had any issues.” Michelle told us. “If there have ever been any odd little queries they’ve been quick to come back to us - their communication is really good. We shared ideas with lots of communication until the children were happy with all of the planned aspects of the Trim Trail. There was good communication from the Operations Team so I knew when everything was being delivered. I would absolutely, 100% recommend them.”
We enjoyed watching the children at Lower Halstow in action on their new Trim Trail - they had some great ideas for travelling across it in different ways! Working out how best to complete each section of the challenge, assessing and managing risk as they move, and developing their climbing confidence and resilience as they conquer some of the more difficult balance challenges over time. It’s proving to be a great way to have fun getting active at break times!
Would you like to increase your pupils’ active play opportunities in the school playground? Could a Trim Trail be just what you’re looking for? We’re the UK’s Number 1 Playground Provider, and we can help!
If you would like to focus on specific challenges, or specific areas of the curriculum for development, we can help you to select the best challenge pieces with which to build your Trim Trail, so that it’s tailored to meet your pupils’ needs. You can view our full range of Trim Trail products.
Please feel free to Contact Us for a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our expert playground consultants.