School playground equipment for SEN

The inclusion of SEN school playground equipment can have a positive impact and provide a sense of freedom for children with special educational needs (SEN). It combines structured and free play to improve social skills, promote self-confidence and provide sensory stimulation for all children.

“Since completion, 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.” Fiona Taylor, EYFS Teacher, Ganton School, Hull.

Ganton School has some very complex children with multiple disabilities which made their playground needs wide and diverse. Click here to read the full case study.

Play is for everyone and the use of inclusive play equipment makes sure that all children, including those with additional needs, can enjoy playing together and make the most of their time in the playground.

Sensory Play

By incorporating sensory play equipment into the playground, it encourages children with additional needs to communicate with their other classmates. Integrating sand & water play or a Mud Kitchen into the playground encourages children to play together. Playing together allows children to explore social interaction and develop relationships with others.  Playing with mud, sand & water introduces a wide range of textures and consistencies whilst playing and learning. Making mud pies and getting messy with sand and water is an iconic symbol of childhood because it doesn’t discriminate against age, ability or the capacity to be creative.

Role-play and performance

All children learn and develop through play, and children with additional needs (SEN) are no different. The introduction of role-play and performance helps children to practice their response to different situations and understand by watching and copying others. It also allows children the opportunity to work closely together, taking turns at being the speaker and listener further developing their social skills. Performance areas with stages provide rich opportunities for imagination and inventiveness for all children. Performing can enhance confidence and allow children to act how they want without fear of being judged.

Improving physical skills

Providing equipment that has a physical element has many advantages for all children.  Equipment such as Adventure Trail can help improve fine motor, hand-eye coordination and even spatial awareness. Play and exercise helps strengthen core muscles in the body and can improve gross and fine motor skills, which are essential for a child’s development. A linear adventure trail can provide structure to outdoor play for SEN children. It combines free flow movement and repetition to help children develop better special awareness and balance. Playgrounds of any size are suitable for adventure trails because they come in modular pieces and can be tailored for the specific needs of any school.

Quiet areas

Overstimulation during break time is common for many SEN children. The hustle of bustle of children running, jumping and having fun can be overwhelming for all children at times.  Providing a quiet area of the playground where children can go and relax can reduce stress and make them feel more comfortable in the playground. Providing an area with seating and educational play panels such as the Mirror Play Panel or White Board Panel will allow children to play in a quiet and safe space away from the main playground during break time.

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

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