Our Renaissance Adventure Play Area enables students to exercise, enjoy each other’s company and involve themselves in the natural world. Their imagination is stimulated by ‘hidden’ pathways through bushes and borders and their emotional health and well-being is cared for by having shaded seating areas where students can chat, relax (even lie down) and listen to the sounds of the waterfall. The shaded seating areas are big enough to take entire classes for learning outdoors.
Physically, students can climb ladders, scramble over nets, slide down one of two slides, lower themselves down ropes or balance across a bridge that shifts under their weight. This helps develop both gross and fine motor skills, exercises muscles and helps oxygenate blood. Students can also jog along the hidden paths and walk through the adventure area.
Intellectually, student awareness of the natural outdoor world is enhanced by the planted borders, vertical garden and large planting troughs that classes and pupils can use to plant their own plants. The waterfall is stocked with small fish and students love watching these and learning about what the fish eat and how we care for the fish when we clean the water pools. When designing the Renaissance Adventure Play Area we were very careful to build the area around the existing trees, in doing so modelling care for the environment and livings things. By planting their own plants and by walking on the pathways rather than running across planted areas, students are helped to develop a sense of responsibility for the environment.
Classes have already used the area for making tally charts of mini-beasts located, while others have made observational drawings and listened to stories. Younger pupils have been on ‘Bear Hunts’ linked to stories they were reading in class.
The imagination of students is aided by the ‘castle’ having four turrets which are often turned into a pirate boat, ‘home base’, spaceship or vehicle, depending on the imagination of the students and type of game they wish to play.
The outdoor classroom allows students to teach one another using two large wall-mounted whiteboards with seating for many other student ‘learners’. Students are cooled by large fans which operate only when they are playing.
The sand play area encourages the development of fine motor skills, turn taking, sharing, socialisation and conversation.
Emotionally and socially, students are able to ‘take a break’ from the busy life of school and chill out near the waterfall, sitting on purpose built seats, under a tree, in the shade. Or they can chat to one another in the shaded wooden meeting huts, surrounded by greenery and beautiful flowers. They can take a relaxing walk along mosaic pathways or play with other students, agreeing games to be played and rules to be adhered to. Negotiating what game to play, who the leader will be and taking turns also helps students develop emotionally. If students do get upset, there are always adults very close by to support if peer support has not worked.
Students, staff and parents are delighted with our new Renaissance Adventure Play Area. If you would like to know more about the benefits of outdoor play, the first website below offers a clear, concise read, while the second delves deeper into ‘The Importance of Outdoor Play and Its Impact on Brain Development In Children’:
Do ask your child about our Adventure Play Area, or even better, come and visit when we have a school event.
Head of Primary and Early Years