Two years after the construction of a new school building, the school undertook a project to improve the school grounds. By moving a fence, they brought the area at the front of the school into the ‘secure’ area that pupils can use at lunchtimes and break-times. Within this area has been constructed an amphitheatre, a reflective area, an outdoor classroom and a Labyrinth. A Den Area, Growing Area, grassy mound and trim-trail have been built on the existing school field behind the school. The two areas are linked by a ‘hidden path’ through butterfly-friendly shrubs.
How they Went About It
The whole of the school was involved in developing the ideas for the playground. Their starting point was the book ‘Window’ by Jeanne Baker, which encouraged them to consider what they would like to see out of their own window.
The School Council went to see the grounds of two other schools where the playgrounds had been redeveloped, and discussed the changes that had been made with their school councils.
A questionnaire was written by some of the pupils to get the views of other children at the schools and their parents about what they would like to see in the playground. They also discussed their ideas with the County Council’s Landscape Architect, the Norse Grounds Advisor and a local landscape contractor.
The final ideas were presented by some of the children at an extraordinary school assembly attended by children, parents, governors, staff and the local community. They were then passed on to David Yates, a Landscape Architect with Norfolk County Council, who pulled them together into a landscape plan for the site.
The work was carried out by Meo Landscapes, a local landscape contractor. They were able to enhance the design by adding a few additional touches, such as the mysterious small doors in the mound at the front of the school.
What the Main Outcomes Were for the School
The pupils are now able to play outside in the winter as well as the summer, as the area in the front of the school can be used throughout the year. Having been so involved in the development of the school grounds, the children now have a strong sense of ownership and pride in them.
Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) – Award for Playground development
South Norfolk District Council – Commendation for Playground development designed by children