Rugby Free School now has a playground where outdoor learning will thrive for years to come...
Rugby Free School opened its doors for the first time in September 2015 and proud Headteacher, Susan Milewski, understood the importance of outdoor learning and wanted her school to have an inspiring outdoor area that would promote children’s self-esteem, wellbeing, behaviour, cooperative learning and social development.
Our play consultant, Michael Bischof, met with Susan on numerous occasion to emulate her vision of an engaging outdoor learning environment which her reception and year 1 children could have direct free flow access to from inside the classroom. She also wanted her main front playground to promote active play, physical development and friendly competition.
The reception and year 1 children needed an area that included open-ended play opportunities as well as areas for physical development, imaginative play and outdoor curriculum-based learning.
From an Octopus Garden to a Bespoke Castle, the Early Years Environment has multiple learning opportunities
We decided to create an eye-catching Bespoke Castle structure to not only promote physical development, but become an influential resource for imaginative play. Children can re-enact their favourite fairy tales when on the castle or even create hidden dens underneath it. The area on top of the castle is huge, allowing space for children to play together and even partake in story telling time. The slide adds an extra fun element which means the children will never get bored of their new play structure.
“The castle is really fun, we can spy on people from the lookout glasses”
Young children have bundles of energy so it was important to provide a safe surface for children to run around and take safe risks on. We innovatively installed our Wetpour surfacing to include a magnificent Octopus design that would bring children’s imaginations to life - They call it their Octopus Garden. We added water splashes at the bottom of the slide and climbing nets of the castle to add additional elements to their imaginative play. This fort is now surrounded by water, stay afloat children!
For Literacy and Communication and Language, we gave the school a Story Telling Circle with Mushroom Seats. Here children can take it in turns to read their favourite story whilst on the high Story Telling Chair; great for confidence and pronunciation.
With the inclusion of our Mud Kitchen, Water Table and Covered Sand Table, the area now has plenty of messy play opportunities. These must-have early years resources promote cooperative play and can help children better understand the world through the art of turn-taking. Mathematical and scientific concepts can be introduced through the effective use of the Sand and Water Table.
Natural play is important which is why we created a planting area that included a Picnic Table with Composter and Veggie Top, a Recycled Composter and a Straight Planter Bench. Over the years, children will get the chance to experience wildlife and witness the plant cycle up close and personal. Growing vegetables is also a great way to promote a healthy lifestyle.
We installed four of our Activity Play Panels that can create great group activities whilst helping them better understand concepts from subjects including science. Our musical panels were also included to help teach children learn rhythm and beat – they can also be a great way to introduce children to mathematics.
“I like the Science area because I can turn the wheels and the gears go round”
“We can play music in our octopus garden because we have big pipes and a silver instrument on the wall”
For child-led play, we gave the area five Small Playhouses or Beach Huts as we like to call them. Here children can shape their own play environment and teachers can theme the area by transforming the Playhouses into anything they like to help develop different areas of learning. What will the Beach Hut be today?
“I love learning outside, we have a maths hut where we practice our numbers using dominoes”
“My favourite hut is construction because I can be Bob the Builder and build tall towers”
Susan Milewski said:
“Firstly I want to praise your teams, they have all been most accommodating and they are doing a great job, we are really pleased and the children cannot wait to start playing on our equipment.”
“I really cannot thank your teams enough, we have had several different teams throughout the project and all of them have exceeded our expectations. I am extremely impressed. Please do pass on my thanks to them all and thank you most sincerely for organising it.”
The front playground now promotes physical development, competitive play and sport participation!
On the main front playground, we created an active play trail through the installation of our Trim Trail. The Trim Trail includes challenges such as balance beams, monkey bars and climbing walls. We added our Solar Powered Stopwatch at the end so that children could time their progress and compete against one another. Our Playturf was used as a natural-looking safety surface to add greenery to the area.
“The trim trail is my best bit of school, I try and trick my teachers by going on with the Dragons and Monkeys class too” (William is in the Whales class and they take turns to go on the trim trail)
For ball play, we created a Netball Court through the use of our Wetpour playground surfacing and Playground Line Markings. Now children can participate in the well-known sport and master their ball techniques. We added our Goal Target to add an additional dimension to the playground and allow practise for other ball games including football.
Picnic Table Game Tops were also added around the area for social interaction and fun game time. The game tops include classics such as Connect 4 and Maze and Snakes for children to play on together.
"Firstly I want to praise your teams, they have all been most accommodating and they are doing a great job, we are really pleased and the children cannot wait to start playing on our equipment."
"I really cannot thank your teams enough, we have had several different teams throughout the project and all of them have exceeded our expectations. I am extremely impressed. Please do pass on my thanks to them all and thank you most sincerely for organising it."
“Patience Personified – that would be my summary of all Pentagon staff – they were fabulous from start to finish and changed and adapted things to ensure RFPS achieved their aim exactly. Alongside this, I must mention the quality of the products which is excellent. We are delighted with our stunning new outdoor area for Reception, with our Trim Trail on the playground and our new Wetpour netball court. Anybody who would like to have a look is more than welcome, we love showing it off!”
If you would like to see how we can develop your playground, feel free to Contact Us through the website or start a discussion through our Live Chat System!