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Priory School’s SEN Playground Development

A Sensory Garden and Real-World Active Play Space For Children With SEN

 

Pupils at Priory School in Slough are busy enjoying their beautiful new Pentagon sensory garden and real-world active play space - with a huge new canopy shelter they now have the space to learn outdoors all year round, no matter what the weather decides to do!

Becky Hazell, one of our playground consultants, had the pleasure of working with this Berkshire primary school to create a fantastic new outdoor playground - one that would greatly improve their Early Years provision, and increase their options for maximising learning opportunities within their available outdoor space.

A giant playhouse with walls, benches inside and a chalkboard with drawings of flowers placed in front of school building next to free standing chimes.

We met with school staff to talk about their ideas for a new outdoor play and learning environment, and identify their main priorities.

It was important to them that we could build a flexible and open-ended outdoor teaching space that they could use all throughout the year.

A trike and a scooter parked in parking bays which comes off the roadway using the wetpour surfacing. Installed around artificial grass in front of storage boxes.

Specifically, they wanted us to design a playground that would support healthy, active, physical challenges, and provide some wonderful sensory play opportunities for the children.

As a key feature of the project, we looked to create clear learning zones which would help to group similar play and learning opportunities together.

Much of this could be achieved through carefully designed layout, using contrasting combinations of our all-weather Playground Surfacing options to give the children more focused learning spaces for immersing themselves in play.

Two teachers stood underneath a timber canopy which is attached to the school building. Next to the wetpour roadway, artificial grass and African drums, with a scooter and trike parked in the parking bays.

Beautiful Natural-Looking Playground Surfaces to Explore

 

Our Playturf Artificial Grass provides a beautifully natural-looking, textured surface with sensory interest. We installed it across much of the new outdoor space with our Dynamic Play Baseworks, to ensure all-weather access. 

Wetpour roadway with road markings on making a zebra crossing and arrows, surrounded by artificial grass installed in front of the timber canopy.

We incorporated a fabulously fun physical challenge in the form of a ‘real-world’ Wetpour Roadway zone, into the artificial grass. This smooth, non-slip surface is ideal for children to race around on their bikes and trikes - a great activity for early physical development practicing gross motor movement, balance and coordination. We added directional markings, numbered parking bays and even zebra crossings for road safety and role play.

A set of our favourite versatile Get Set, Go! Blocks were the perfect addition for active play. They can easily be moved around on the artificial grass to form different obstacle courses, keeping the younger children at Priory School happily active and engaged. 

Aerial view of school playground showing African drums, wetpour roadway, and artificial grass with the timber canopy attached to the school building

A Revolutionary Timber Canopy to Shelter from the Elements

 

Adjacent to the school building, we created a sheltered teaching and learning space with one of our revolutionary Bespoke Timber Canopy structures. It’s watertight and allows children to free-flow easily between the indoor classroom and outdoor learning areas - opening up the outdoors to all sorts of options for a wide range of activities that will satisfy a broad EYFS curriculum. We resurfaced here with our Messy Blend Wetpour to make it a safe, easy to maintain, non-slip space ready for endless sensory and messy play activities. 

A side view of timber canopy which is attached to school building, with get set go blocks placed onto artificial grass in front of canopy.

In a separate role-play zone, our Giant Playhouse with Walls, Chalkboard and Benches provides a more cosy shelter, and sets the scene for forming friendships through social gatherings and make-believe games. The chalkboard encourages children to join together for mark-making and some interesting artistic expression too! 

Aerial view of school playground including a timber canopy attached to the school building, artificial grass, get set go blocks, giant playhouse and roadway feature

Plenty of Sensory Play Opportunities

 

Sensory play, with texture and colour, is a running theme throughout Priory School’s new Early Years outdoor learning environment. The children love to explore and experiment through music and sound with a selection of innovative sensory play-pieces:

  • A bright and beautiful set of African Drums sparks creativity as each one strikes a different note - an enchanting resource for learning rhythm and rhyme and counting in time;
  • A pair of Sensory Shaker Spinners provide fascinating visual, auditory and tactile feedback.  Designed to support children who have specific Special Education Needs, these colourful, light-reflecting Spinners can really help children with self-regulation; and
  • A large set of moveable, Freestanding Chimes, tuned to a scale of C Major, that will always inspire young musicians at Priory School to create magical, musical masterpieces in their playground!

 Yellow, red, blue, green and orange African drums placed in height order with yellow being the smallest, installed close to the storage boxes and wetpour roadway.

We put a Self-Selecting Store next to the canopy, so that the children have ready and easy access to their toys and equipment, helping to promote independent and child-led play.

Finally, we sectioned off the whole area with Green Loop Metal Fencing for safety and security - and of course the youngest pupils at Priory School are delighted to keep the joy of this super outdoor space all to themselves!

Two sensory spinners with red, yellow, blue and green textures on installed onto black tarmac in front of the green fence with a field on the other side of the fence.

Are you thinking about new playground options? We can help! You can  find out more about our work with schools and nurseries, and view our full range of outdoor learning, play and sports products Here. Please do Contact Us to arrange a free, no-obligation consultation.

Take a closer look at all of the excellent playground designs installed for Berkshire primary schools and nurseries on our dedicated Berkshire Playground Projects Page Here.

Giant playhouse with walls, benches and a chalkboard inside with doodles of flowers on the chalkboard. Free standing chimes placed next to the playhouse, both in front of the school building.