talking to teachers it became clear that some outdoor provision, particularly in FS and Early Years, lead to focussed but isolated and insular play. Teachers were looking for something that would encourage children to cooperate and communicate with each other.
The idea came about for something that required more than one child to make it work or function, so children had to communicate by necessity.Channeling and pipes are left deliberately long, so one child can't fit them onto the structure themself, they need a friend to help. holes and openings within the structures encourage communication and roleplay.
The structures are made from rot resistant timber and recycled plastic, making them tough and durable. Some component parts are moveable, so children can adjust and shift them, allowing them to vary the provision and take ownership of the structures
Having spoken to staff, each of these structures was made bespoke to the requirements of each school.
a robust bark kitchen, much less messy than a mud kitchen. Bark chips can be used in role play and maths based capacity activities in pots and pans
These gutters were part of a woodland area developed in a school nursery. Conkers and acorns were provided to roll down the channeling.
A seaside themed social play area recently installed. A shop, puppet theatre and caravan complement two large sand pits, a boat and a jetty. The structure encourages 2 way roleplay- a shop keeper and customer, a performer and audience. Blackboards installed on the structures mean children can take ownership of the structures, changing them session by session. Plus, it's a stimulus for literacy.
Design sessions were carried out with the entire school on this project, so everyone was involved and informed the final ideas. A series of outdoor structures were built to encourage communication. A large robot head contained opening drawers, in which objects could be placed, and a stage was created where the doors could be positioned to create a variety of differing spaces.