Fairlawn School – Natural School Playground Design to Support the STEM Curriculum
Client Type: School
The School was newly opened and staff were keen that the school outdoor areas supported the STEM curriculum. It was important that the play area would help to develop the collaboration, communication and cooperation among the new children and staff.
They also wanted the natural school playground to support staff to help promote the use of loose parts play which the children can use their imaginations to create and build their own adventures.
At TouchWood we believe that learning does not happen in isolation, but rather is a multi-layered experience where creative and practical skills intertwine. We began the design process with our ‘Designing for Real’ days, bringing together the children and staff to explore what they wanted from their new play area. Their valuable feedback informed our designs.
Our first focal point was the free flow early years play area. Using the natural sloping topography of the play area, our team created a range of locally sourced and hand-crafted features, which were carefully designed to maximise loose parts play along with supporting collaborative interaction.
A carved out, tactile hollow log encourages children to scramble through and up onto a giant log stack birds’ nest, where they can sit and be social or play and interact.
A den building area under shade sails, allows the children to create their own play spaces before moving on to a series of balance beams. In a sand pit, children can work together and can even tell the date and time using a playful human sundial, before finishing up at the interactive water feature where children can choose to pump, damn, bridge and paddle in the water, by using different elements of their loose parts materials from the PlayPod.
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Whatever the budget, every job goes through the same meticulous process and we take equal care over the installation of a single swing as we do for an entire playground.