Flying Start Family Centre, Wales

The children at the Flying Start Family Centre in Barry can now develop their learning skills in a safe and secure outdoor environment. Supervisor Sue Davis tells us how their new equipment allows the children to take a few risks and explore the world around them.

Why did you want to develop your playground?

We wanted to develop a playground that would enable the children to improve their learning through outdoor play. Doing so would ensure that we were adhering to the principles laid down in the Foundation Phase Document (WAG). The old playground at the Family Start Family Centre lacked the inspiration and motivation to get the children excited about playing outside.

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

Playforce is efficient and cost effective. They responded quickly to any queries that we had and arranged a sound after-sales service. The team, particularly the fitters, showed a high regard towards the safety of the children. They carried out a sweep check in every area after completion to ensure that there were no rogue nails or screws.

The children are now able to explore their outdoor space and make choices about the activities they want to take part in

How are we using the space to deliver outdoor learning & educational play?

At Flying Start we have divided the space into ‘developmental areas’, such as mark making, creativity and role-playing. Different lessons are carried out in different areas and it is possible to separate or combine play and learning. The shelter that we bought provides protection from the elements and enables the children to have continuous access to outdoor play.

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

The children are now able to explore their outdoor space and make choices about the activities they want to take part in. They are able to fuel their imagination with a wide range of activities within a safe and secure environment. By developing our outside area, the children’s physical skills can be specifically developed to enable them to improve their emotional wellbeing and let off steam.

Can you share any best practice insights you’ve gained?

It’s really important that children take a few risks to learn about the world around them. Therefore, as a school, we should be developing an outdoor space that keeps them as safe as necessary, not as possible. Creating such an environment ensures that the children have the best possible start in life and aren’t afraid to get out and try new things.