Over the years, several studies have revealed the benefit - even necessity - of spending time outdoors and when the great outdoors is combined with education, it can have vast benefits. Learning outside can help provide a holistic approach towards learning with immense academic, social and emotional benefits for students. Although most children go on school trips several times a year, they don’t often get the opportunity to enjoy nature as part of their school day, which means they could be missing out on opportunities to excel both academically and socially.
Encouraging children to be active and play outdoors is becoming increasingly difficult as they opt to spend time indoors on a variety of technological devices. The lack of outdoor activity has contributed to the increased obesity amongst children. According to figures from the NHS, around 10% of children are obese in their first year of school. We at Hand Made Places specialise in designing, manufacturing and installing high quality timber playgrounds to encourage outdoor learning and play at schools, and here we explain why we do what we do.
As the UK’s leading suppliers of street furniture, at Broxap we have a diverse and extensive product range that covers everything from waste bins to benches, canopies to cycle shelters. To further our service capabilities, in 1990 we expanded our remit and started offering bespoke Design & Build projects, through which we’ve produced specific designs for hundreds of developments and schemes. For nearly 80 years, we’ve delivered projects all over the country, for clients with varying budgets and requirements.
Last year, the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) at St Nicholas’ CE Primary School contacted Playforce about an outdoor development project they’d been planning in their meetings. They were looking for someone to help them develop their playground with equipment that encouraged their pupils to play outdoors at every opportunity. They turned to us to help make their outdoor space outstanding.
Outdoor Learning can be a powerful tool in the teacher’s rucksack. But like any tool, you need the right one for the job. You can cut wood with a screwdriver, but it’s tricky and messy! I want to share with you some ways that learning outside the classroom can make an impact on English and Maths, whatever age or phase, and how it can in turn impact on a wider school community.
Dr Katherine Forsey is a retained consultant for Gratnells, school storage and staging providers and leading outdoor education specialist. In her role as senior panellist for Gratnells Learning Rooms, an all-embracing approach to the environment in which teachers and pupils interact, Katherine delivers practical outdoor education opportunities for school children. She believes going outdoors shouldn’t be reserved for the occasional school trip, but should be a regular, normal part of the school day at every time of year:
When developing a new playground, the imagining, designing and installing is the fun part. Often the first hurdle to jump over in the process is getting the funding together. At Playforce, we know that finding playground funding can be stressful, but with nearly 20 years of experience developing play spaces in schools, we’ve done more than our fair share of funding hunting.