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September is here which means it’s the start of another academic year. All of the department stores are displaying ‘back to school’ signs and teachers are making final preparations before the new term starts. For schools hoping to make summer improvements to facilities, time is running out.

However, certain elements can still be transformed before the first day of school, including the playground. School children spend almost half of their day on the playground, including dinner time, break time and some PE and games sessions. When it comes to playground design, modern playgrounds should have something for every child from hopscotch to dens and treehouses.

Here are some design tips for any public or private school, nursery or day care centre trying to improve its outdoor play spaces.

Focus on Accessibility

You need to ensure that as much of the playground as possible is accessible and suitable for all children. Is the apparatus suitable for children with learning difficulties or disabilities, and if not can you provide another play element which is? Pathways should be smooth and as flat as possible for pushchairs and wheelchairs, and ideally there should be no steps or ramps provided where they are necessary. When designing a playground it’s important that you don’t make any users feel isolated.

Creative Paving

Children can find the element of fun in anything, so the latest state-of-the-art play equipment and apparatus is not always needed. Instead of covering the playground in tarmac or asphalt, which is dull, why not brighten up the schoolyard with bright paving? Resin bound paving can be used to create bespoke school paving designs which create an impact. From bright patterns to learning techniques including numbers and the alphabet, anything is possible. The design options are endless, so whether you want to emphasise the school slogan or create a colourful maze, it can be easily achieved with resin bound paving.

Sensory Gardens

Does your playground have any sensory play opportunities? Play time can also cross over with learning, and by incorporating sensory elements, children can play in an alternative way. If they’re too tired to run around playing games, they can explore the world around them in the sensory garden. Paths and archways could lead to bug hotels, bird tables, mirrors, treehouses and water play. You could also install a canopy for when it rains during playtime.

Take a look at some of our school paving projects for inspiration and get in touch if you have any questions.