What is going to keep your children amused in the playground now that the weather has changed towards winter?
As with all schools it is a challenge to keep pupils motivated in the playground during breaks and lunchtimes especially when the weather is no longer summer or spring like. One of the first things to consider is what age group are you catering for. Early years, Key Stage 1 or Key Stage 2. You may in fact be catering for all three stages.
Playground equipment can fall into different categories, for example, Active, Imaginative and Landscape. Some schools prefer to have a mixture of all three types to cater for different abilities and preferences; some prefer to stick to one category.
Funding of this equipment is always an issue. Parents & School Boards can be a good source of funding. There are also specialist websites to give guidance and to signpost to
various funding packages.
When trying to get parents involved it is important to outline what you are trying to achieve and to ask them to help to canvas the views of the pupils. A working group
consisting of staff, parents and pupils can be a good way forward. This group can take a bit of work to organise and to support but the results can make sure that you are purchasing the correct equipment for the needs of the school.
It is a major financial outlay and does deserve the time and commitment to ensure that the correct decision is made. Decisions also need to be made regarding the maintenance of the equipment. Some schools take out a maintenance contract with the equipment supplier; others prefer to contract this work out to a local firm.
Consideration needs to be given to whether you are looking to source the equipment locally and therefore reduce the carbon foot print of the equipment.
Siting of the equipment is a vital decision with regard to feasibility of installation, access to the equipment by the pupils and also security implications.
When you have decided what equipment you require, where you are going to site it and have the funding in place the next thing you have to consider is how to launch it. It can be
an excellent public relations opportunity to promote the school by having an official launch and asking the local press to attend. The pupils may like to be involved in choosing a “celebrity” to perform the opening ceremony.
The hours of fun that the children will have from the playground equipment will make the preparation and commitment very worthwhile.