Greystones Primary School – Sheffield
Prior to meeting with Playgarden, the Early Years Lead at Greystones Primary, Sheffield, believed that the constraints of a limited budget and limited space meant that the only options available were pieces of fixed play equipment and a wooden sand box.
To transform a small, barren, tarmac space into a playground for Reception children at Greystones Primary.
• Small space
• Flat, tarmac space
• Fenced area within the KS1 playground
• Limited budget, big list of wants
An initial meeting with Playgarden about changes that could be made to the landscape convinced the Greystones team that they could have a flexible, open-ended space that worked with the constraints that they had.
The development of large scale active play & learning opportunities were really important. Places to do large scale digging and filling for whole body work was created with the sand pit and the mud digging pit. Climbing up and down with ladders and stepping logs develops balance and coordination. The addition of tools into the digging area, develops hand control and the development of fine motor activities.
A large sand play area with a sand pulley system is ideal for exploring the properties of sand. Transportation of sand and loose materials around the space introduces weight and measuring into the play. Big digging opportunities are offered and exploring sand with their whole body is very important to children which is why we created a huge sand play area. Experimenting with the properties of sand is important for children’s well-being and development; wet sand changes colour, it can be shaped but when too much water is added it loses its shape!
Located next to the large sand play area, the mud kitchen provides ample opportunity for mud mixing! Located at floor level it means the children can really dig deep and get stuck into this muddy concoction for real, developmental play. Having the sand and mud located next to each other provides contrasts in colour, texture and mixing behaviour. The addition of a potting table with wooden walled backdrop provides space for adding loose kitchen utensils and pots & pans.
Small pockets of planting are important so that children can experience the joy and wonder of watching them grow and change with the seasons.
Places to hide and build dens are important in the space. A raised platform with artificial grass provides a look out space, alongside separate area for cosy play, provide the children with the feeling of being hidden from view. However, the open-end nature of their design means they can be used, however the children determine.
Open storage for loose parts and materials was important. The bespoke construction of this mean that key requirements such as accessibility, alongside self-selection were easily met.
• Physical movement and development through large scale opportunities presented in the outdoor environment.
• Big scale sand pit supports experimentation through play
• Planting elements provide stimulation and help children gain understanding of the world they live in.
• Mud play is a core element of continuous, inclusive provision. The versatility of mud means there’s something for everyone.Physical activity is promoted with generous free space for scooting.
Landscaping: Mud digging pit, playable boundary, planting beds, sand pit, pebble playscape
What the client said…
“Following the new build extension to our building, we had to start from scratch with the development of our reception outdoor space. I really looked at the scope of possibilities and thought that we would end up with a very traditional space with fixed elements. However, discussing things with Playgarden my eyes were opened up to the possibilities of what we could do within the space. It was difficult for my team and I to visualise that we could transform the landscape of the space in such a way that the children’s learning journey would be truly enriched. Working with Playgarden’s Early Years Landscape Architect, together we were able to create a vision that offered a truly versatile, flexible outdoor environment that affords magic and wonder for our children.”