Carterhatch Infant School and Children’s Centre take their outdoor provision very seriously, believing it is as important as the indoor space for meeting the learning and development needs of children, through play.

The nursery wanted to provide opportunities for engaging in elemental and loose parts play and also for physical development.

The new learning environment facilitates free flow play, including many non-prescribed elements that allow the children to use their imagination and create their own play opportunities.

So whilst a Climbing Structure was a central element within the new playgarden, there is more to this than meets the eye. Physically challenging and risky, the Climbing Structure allows the children to clamber over it, thinking carefully about how they moved around the equipment. The natural tree trunks facilitate other activities such as the creation of den and secret hidey-holes.

Different textures and surfaces were an important element to consider within the Playspace, with a tactile pathway providing sensory opportunities for little hands and feet. Lots of loose materials such as sand, playbark, mud and pebbles are rich resources for creative and imaginative play. They make maths more fun, building and small world play is facilitated with ease as this magical concoction of natural elements entice children to direct their own play.

The play area also has a significant sand play area, surrounded by mounds and large boulders. These serve the purpose of containing the sand area and also providing elevated platforms for running down or jumping off, they are also great for teaching staff to sit at child level and engage in the play. A see saw is situated within this area as are a wooden snail and glass prism kaleidoscope.

A pebble stream also meanders through the playspace, from a Mushroom Pump. This particular pump is easily manipulated by little hands, and the stream is a very attractive feature for playground users. The element of water is also an excellent resource for compounding learning in line with the curriculum.

The mounds also form part of the bike track, another new addition which encourages the children to manoeuvre wheeled toys around the track, freeing up the rest of the playground for other activities.

A collection of mushroom seats creates a quiet storytelling corner, accessed by a freestanding gate.

Significant planting around the play area adds a sensory element, creating a seasonal back drop that adds interest to the play area.

Check out the link to this award winning outdoor space… Carterhatch Infant School.