This week is Children’s Mental Health Week and we have already shared our comments and ideas on improving inclusivity in play. Establishing a culture of inclusivity - where every child, irrespective of differences caused by disability, ethnicity, gender, religion, belief or faith and sexual orientation, has a common entitlement to a broad and balanced curriculum which meets their social and learning needs - is central to the ethos of Children's Mental Health Week.
Over the years we’ve worked with hundreds of schools, helping them to develop play spaces that encourage group play and social interaction. Whether focusing on increasing the children's participation in more traditional sporting activities, combating bullying and antisocial behaviour, or presenting opportunities for group learning and problem-solving, careful choice of playground equipment can play an important role.
Here are our five favourite products for encouraging group play:
1. Buddy Bus Stop Hut - A perfect way to strengthen your anti-bullying policy with clear pictorial signage, mounted on smooth timber posts, a weather-proof plastic roof and timber seating. This can also be useful in providing quieter space for less confident children, helping them to feel part of the play space without being overwhelmed by noisy and frantic activity.
2. Creative Drawing Stage - This combines a half hexagonal stage with the three creative drawing panels. It’s a great way to create a flexible space for creative expression and outdoor learning - combining both group performance and storytelling opportunities as well as mark-making, literacy and numeracy learning. The clear window allows children to be creative, whilst interacting with their environment and the high-grade chalk and white boards are weather and vandal resistant, as well as easy to wipe clean.
3. Wooden Musical Trail - For centuries groups have been joining together to create music and we think this is just as effective outdoors as in. Our Wooden Musical Trail has seven panels including Bat Pipe, Bell, Chime, Tongue Drum, Rattle Wheel, Xylophone and Washboard… just perfect for group music-making and performance, as well as exploration and fun.
4. Sunken Ship - The imaginative, performance, storytelling and active play and learning opportunities reach all the way to the horizon with our Sunken Ship Bow, Mast and Stern. featuring port holes, climbing walls, canons, rope climb and scrambler nets, rope climb, bell, pirate flag, ship’s wheel and fireman's pole, children can work together to achieve physical literacy challenges as well as exploring all areas of the curriculum, through outdoor learning.
5. Woodland Cabin with Porch - Providing something for everyone, in outdoor space, is important for positive health & well being as well as inclusivity. Our Woodland Cabin is another suggestion for quieter space, as well as being perfect for imaginative play, storytelling and group performance. It’s made from high-quality timber and is topped with a play lawn surface for a natural look. Up to six children can play happily inside the cabin with room for a few more on the porch. The window at the back provides additional play opportunities.
For more information about our products, or to talk to one of our School Grounds Consultants about your playground, please contact us - we’d love to talk to you!