LINE: The importance of place in a new playground

09 January 2017

Over the past few weeks we’ve been writing a series of articles about how learning in a natural environment (LINE) can affect learning outcomes. Until now we’ve focused on specific elements of design, such as colour or lighting, but this week we’re looking at a more general concept - the importance of place.



According to a report released by Ofsted, particular places can have special significance for children, bringing extra depth to their learning and experience. The examples given are related to school trips and adventures outside the classroom, for example:

“Each year, in an event called ‘Our Theatre’, hundreds of pupils from Southward plan and perform their own interpretation of a chosen Shakespeare play on the stage of the Globe Theatre. The setting allows young people to work where Shakespeare did, and imagine his time in a way that would be impossible in a classroom.”

This example may be quite different to a playground setting but the idea behind it is very similar. Outdoor learning gives pupils’ the opportunity to imagine an idea or a lesson in a way, like the Shakespeare example, that would be impossible in a classroom. Learning about forces and gravity becomes a much more interactive and rewarding experience when racing objects down slides or testing out seesaws. Writing a poem about nature is far more inspiring when written amongst the trees.



Creating a space with a special significance for the children has been proven to have a beneficial effect on learning outcomes. Many of our customers involve the pupils at their school, or in their community, in the design process to help boost these benefits. By including the children in discussions about a new playground and asking them to contribute their ideas, it often gives them a sense of pride and ownership of their new space. This, in turn, encourages them to use the space more frequently and gives them a happier, more enthusiastic state of mind when they are in it. 

To find out how you can gain the best learning outcomes from your outdoor space, or to learn how your children can be involved in designing a new playground, book a consultation with one of our local advisors. 

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