TouchWood created a natural school playground for Stanley Green Infant Academy in Poole to rejuvenate their outdoor area. The school had a space with a small playground that was lacking in play features. Their vision was to transform this area into a vibrant natural play space that would stimulate physical activity, creativity, and social interaction among the children, with a focus on a diverse range of play opportunities.
Following the brief, we created a design that would provide an environment for primary school children to be challenged and develop. This project was a perfect opportunity to explore more play features specifically tailored for younger children.
To create a space that catered to different abilities and preferences, we split the playground into three distinct zones:
Natural play zone
This zone was designed to immerse children in nature, allowing them to learn about ecosystems and habitats. It includes planters where the children can grow their own plants, a bee hotel to learn about pollination, a nature collection table for their discoveries, and a magnifying glass to get a closer look at the world around them in detail.
Imaginative play zone
This zone was created to nurture the children’s creativity and self-expression. It boasts a colossal storytelling throne that transports the children into a world of fairy tales, a performance stage with a blackboard for them to design their own backdrops and loose parts to invent their own games.
Explorative play zone
This is where the children can let loose and have fun. They can experiment with gravity and motion on the chutes and pulley board, control water flow on the movable water play and balance weights on the scales. The scales were given special attention to help develop the logical thinking skills necessary for basic maths in a fun way.
The play area not only fulfils all the EYFS requirements, but it also challenges children in various ways. We are grateful to Stanley Green for trusting us with their vision, and we hope that their playground will continue to inspire and engage children for many years to come.
Fran Perry, Headteacher at Stanley Green, said: “TouchWood completely transformed our outdoor space and created an exciting Early Years outdoor learning space that the children have absolutely loved exploring, navigating and learning in. We were impressed with the open-ended design of some of the elements which have really enabled the children to problem-solve and challenge their thinking. The area facilitates learning in every area of the EYFS curriculum.
“One of the favourite features has been the giant storytelling chair which they love sharing with friends but the water play, stage, balance beams and track have been very popular too. The designers really listened to our specific requirements and gave us lots to think about whilst also giving us time to reflect and contribute to the process. A year on, we remain delighted with the area that TouchWood created.”