When it comes to ‘Inclusive Play’ a well-designed inclusive play area should provide the opportunity for all children to participate in play, regardless of their ability. An inclusive playground should offer the same thrills, challenges and experiences as any other playground.
Outdoor play is crucial for all children with its vast range of important benefits. Children who attend special schools have wide-ranging needs and the benefits of an accessible play area where they can connect with the environment, learn from nature, improve their health and physical development whilst all the time interacting and socialising with each other are enormous.
Playdale Playgrounds has dealt with projects in special schools around the UK for many years and have the equipment and experience to provide help in planning the vital outdoor spaces in these settings.
Rigby Hall School in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire is an all age special school taking pupils between the ages of four and nineteen, with moderate or severe learning difficulties.
In recent years, pupils at the school only had a large tarmac yard area to play on during breaks. The time for change had come! They arranged to meet their local Playdale Area Manager for a free, no-obligation design and consultancy meeting. The school was impressed from the outset with the discussions and subsequent design proposals presented back. Headteacher Tracey Smith said they were “Beyond our expectations.”
Following the installation, the pupils and staff were over the moon at the outdoor space transformation. The definite favourite item so far is our best-selling inclusive roundabout – The Inclusive Orbit.
Headteacher Tracey Smith told us “The children are excited to be out at break times and they are learning to manage their own risks in terms of how high they will climb and at what level. Not only is the equipment used at break times, but as an integral part of PE sessions too particularly the Adventure Trail and Gym Buddies. The playground stands proudly at the front of our school. We couldn’t be happier with the facility that we now offer our pupils. It’s above and beyond our expectations.”
Lexden Springs is a Special School in Colchester, Essex which caters for 3-19-year-olds with varying needs including Autism Spectrum Disorder and Profound Multiple Learning Difficulties. The school was keen to provide free play opportunities to support collaborative interaction. Pupils with these types of complex needs can struggle to play with others. The developmental journey in their ability to play can be a slow one; from isolated play, to parallel play, to playing alongside then to the early stages of interactive play.
The outdoor play provision now has a fantastic selection of equipment to accommodate and encourage this from the teamwork-led Team Swing to the angled spinning sensation of the Gravity Bowl and even a Jukebox Plus Multi Play Unit with inclusive access.
All of our products have elements of inclusivity in their design, although some have stronger inclusive features than others. Our design engineers constantly strive to design products that provide the maximum play value for all children. On our website and in our catalogues we have added an ‘Inclusive Design’ symbol on specific products, to make it easy for you to find them.
The Anna Ritchie Special School, Peterhead, in the north-east of Scotland has recently opened a brand new, inclusive playground to ensure that access to all the fantastic experiences on offer in a play area is available for all its pupils. They were aware that playground equipment should enable singular play but clear additional benefits and enriched play can be gained through cooperation. So the equipment can really motivate pupils to make that developmental progress.
The school’s outdoor space now offers its pupils challenging fun on Timber Adventure Trail, the chance to play & interact together on the ever-popular Team Swing and exciting spinning fun on the Inclusive Orbit roundabout. The school were absolutely delighted with the end result and told us that the pupils have really enjoyed playing with all the new equipment and the increased accessibility means that so many more pupils can now join in, play and have fun together.
Following some extensive building improvement work, The Bridge Special School in Ipswich wanted to improve and enhance their outdoor play provision also. An exciting play area is now being enjoyed by the pupils at the school which now has a huge variety of play products including; interactive & sensory Play Panels to help develop & exercise the user’s sense of touch, vision & sound, along with role play, sensory and communicative play with a pair of Loudspeakers, an Inclusive Orbit roundabout, a Team Swing and a Jukebox Plus Multi Play Unit with inclusive access.
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.
No two children are the same, but they all love to play.
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