Aberdour School, Surrey

Wanting to make the most of their beautiful rural surroundings, Aberdour School was looking for play equipment that would encourage natural, active play. They tell us how their Woodland Climber has inspired their pupils to seek outdoor play in any environment.

Why did you want to develop your playground?

Being located in rural Tadworth we wanted to develop a playground that would encourage our pupils to seek adventure in their surroundings. By designing a space that would fit with its natural surroundings we felt that we would be able to show the children how they could explore the environment. We wanted our school grounds to reflect the rural landscape, highlighting the importance of natural, active play.

What were the key elements that made Playforce stand out from other providers?

We had been looking for play equipment from a number of suppliers but felt as though we couldn’t find anything that would encourage both fun outdoor play and fit the natural look we were hoping for. When we saw the Woodland Climbers that Playforce offers we knew that these would be the perfect fit for our outdoor space. The team talked to us about how we could make the design fit with the rural surroundings and showed us how it could benefit the whole school community.
Now that we have a space to play and learn outside, the children are reaping the benefits of daily active and natural play.

How are you using the space to deliver outdoor learning and educational play?

The Woodland Climber is a big hit with the children and they use it every playtime to exercise in the school grounds. We sometimes incorporate it into lessons to encourage them to challenge themselves and each other; the children strive to climb better every time. The natural space is also ideal for taking lessons outdoors. We can set up seating for story telling or make lots of mess in art; it’s multi-functional and inspiring.

What are the biggest benefits you have seen for the children?

Now that we have a space to play and learn outside, the children are reaping the benefits of daily active and natural play. Spending more time outside has motivated and inspired them, they think more creatively and the variety in their routine keeps them productive for longer. Adding an element of healthy competition to the equipment in PE lessons encourages them to keep pushing themselves and to develop their physical skills at a good pace.

Can you share any practice insights you have gained?

Schools that are lucky enough to have beautiful surroundings like us should always try to develop their playground to fit with the natural environment. Doing so makes the great outdoors appear as an extension of the playground and gives pupils the inspiration to seek play in all environments.