April, 2019:

A place to play!

 

How we came up with our new Pre-Prep playground design

 

As I sit writing this opening paragraph, I can hear shrieks of delight coming from the playground as the children play on the new surface for only the second time.

A few months ago, we decided to resurface the Pre-Prep playground – we wanted a soft surface which wouldn’t hurt to fall on; it needed to be flat so it could still be used for PE lessons, tennis, trikes and bikes; we wanted it bright and colourful; and most of all we wanted to ignite the children’s imagination.

We designed a playground which does not limit or lead their playing, but which facilitates it. The playground has been divided into areas using huge curves of different shades of blue, alongside different sized large blue circles. The idea behind this is that the children can use these shapes for anything they like. The curves and large circles could easily be used as a desert island, surrounded by a clear, blue sea. But it could just as easily be a hot air balloon, a space ship, the top of a tree or even a planet. The children can be led by their own interests and extend past experiences. There are no limitations on their imagination and the games they can play are endless.

Teachers can also use the playground for their lessons, as the shapes can just as easily be compasses in Geography, a pizza for learning about fractions or a clock. I took my class out last term and we drew a huge clock on the playground along with chalked numbers and hockey sticks as the hands. I wish we had this playground then!

We have also included a group of rainbow coloured dots which, again, have so many uses for the children. They can be used for hopscotch, counting, bunny hops and countless other things which only the children will think of! We have also designed them to be pathways, varying in difficulty in the order of the rainbow; from the easy red route, to the blue tricky route. The children have particularly loved this element and have already challenged me to a jump-off. I kicked off my heels and got straight out there!

At playtime this morning, I watched a Year 1 showing one of our smallest children from Nursery how to jump from dot to dot. To start with, she was needing two or three jumps to get from one spot to the next, but only 15 minutes later was jumping confidently between them in one go. What a huge development in such a short time.

Finally, there can be no missing the amazing rainbow road, leading from the carpark gate to the front door, then from the front door to the walled garden. A lovely, bright, addition to a really fun and imaginative playground. We knew the children would enjoy riding their trikes down the roads, but who would have thought they would be rolling down the rainbow hill and using the road as a racetrack? This morning, a group of children were timing each other (by counting) as they had turns running around the rainbow track. They even organised themselves some judges, who sat by the side of the track.

I cannot wait to see the children play on this surface for many years to come and equally cannot wait to see what games they come up with. There is no limit to a child’s imagination and this playground offers them limitless play and the freedom to make their own choices.

 

Mrs Camilla Webster, Head of Pre-Prep