Playing, excitement and fun galore at Ganton School

Wednesday, 20th March 2019 12:12 pm

     “Playdale’s Area Manager Becky Warren listened to the features we wanted to put into the playground and came up with a design which included everything, she was on call and responded quickly to any concerns or queries. The overall product is perfectly designed for the needs of our children.” Fiona Taylor, EYFS Teacher, Ganton School.

    Ganton School has a special school community that is a ‘vibrant and energetic collaboration between pupils, staff and families which embraces other community partners and seeks to improve outcomes for all those affected by learning difficulties and disabilities.’ They are always striving to improve resources and provision across the school and are lucky to have a very active PTA (FROGS) which raises funds to help them achieve this.

    In recent years, the pupils only had a large, fenced yard area to play in during breaks. There was nothing for the pupils to play on or with, apart from ball games, leading to low self-regulation and self-esteem which is not what Ganton wanted. Ganton wanted an area where the children could go throughout the day to build on intensive interactions, sensory regulation and prepare the child for learning by increasing their motivation. The time for a change had come!

    FROGS planned a big fundraising project for a new playground. To get the ball rolling, the school arranged to meet their local Playdale Area Manager for a free, no-obligation design and consultancy meeting. Scaled plans, detailed quotations and colourful 3D visuals were drawn up and tweaked along the way to meet the school’s exact brief and budget.

    Ganton School has some very complex children with multiple disabilities which makes their needs wide and diverse. One of the current techniques to help the majority of the children is Sensory Integration which develops the different senses including proprioception and vestibular sense. The playground design takes these into consideration enabling an inclusive area where the children can develop their senses in a fun way. The children also need to be able to interact with adults and peers but many have a social interaction inhibition linked to their ASD diagnosis. The new playground will give them a more relaxed way to interact and develop their PSHE skills or intensive interactive strategies in a different context.

    Fiona Taylor, EYFS Teacher at Ganton School explained, “We wanted a playground that would help our children develop their vestibular and proprioceptive senses, whilst also developing PSHE and communication skills. We worked hard to develop an area that would cater for all the differing needs of the children who attend our school. The school knew there were pieces of equipment around the city parks that our children could access and we wanted these all in one place and to be accessible to the children as much as possible.”

    The fundraising endeavours of FROGS, the school, local organisations, supporters and parents were incredible, admirable and hugely successful to say the least and after tirelessly striving to achieve their target amount, they did it! Work began and the playground installation was completed during the Christmas break so the children came back to school this new year to a big, exciting, brand new playground! Click here to see a video of the newly installed playground!

    The pupils are over the moon with their outdoor space transformation and all of them from age 3 through to 16+ are loving it and enjoying it together!

    Fiona explains the significant impact that the new playground has had on the school, “Since completion, the playground has been used throughout the day, not just breaks and the impact has been dramatic. Children who couldn’t cope with others being near them are becoming aware of their peers and beginning to take turns. They are regularly seen to push themselves on trying the different equipment out by watching how others use it whilst being supported by adults. Children are then returning into school ready to learn. We initially thought a class at a time would access the playground but we are able to have whole primary school events on the there making these events more inclusive.”

    All of our products have elements of inclusive playground design, although some have stronger inclusive features than others such as the Inclusive Orbit roundabout in the image above with its multi-user seating, hand bars and inclusive access.

    There is such a fantastic array of equipment in this new play area, all installed into eco-friendly themed bonded rubber mulch safety surfacing. The central focus point is the inclusive Rumba Plus multi-play unit with stainless steel slide. This features an inclusive platform and net access onto the unit and an inclusive wide slide (image below).

    There is also timber Adventure Trail to test a number of balance and coordination skills , a Playhouse a Wigwam and a themed Tunnel for early years role play opportunities. Stainless steel products include the best-selling inclusive Gravity Bowl, the inclusive Gravity Rider, the seesaw action Rota Bounce and the Loudspeakers to chat to friends across the playground!

    Ganton School’s pupils now have a vibrant, colourful and stimulating playground which has significantly boosted their levels of peer and adult interactions, socialisation, physical strength, problem-solving and most importantly enabling them to be ready for learning. Read more about Playdale’s Inclusive Design.

    If you are considering improving your school’s outdoor areas contact us to arrange a free, no-obligation appointment with your local Area Manager.