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Inspired Design in Early Years Makeover

Imagine being a child and having the chance to decide exactly the features you would like in your own playground? It sounds like a dream come true, but it’s the reality for our Early Years students and teachers who have been instrumental in the design of the playground and facilities which have been upgraded over the summer holidays.

The new playground features brightly coloured paths, excellent for tricycle riding, super climbing forts, balancing poles and, best of all, green “grass” hills with a very hobbit-friendly tunnel for children to ramble over and clamber through. Rainbow colours and lots of texture and light has provide a complete makeover of the Early Years reception area and central corridor as well, creating an entirely new feel to the space.

Working with an architect and landscape gardener, the Early Years team designed the space to ensure every element works well to optimize the children’s learning. According to Head of Early Years, Chris Chappell, the students were also very involved in deciding how the new playground would look. She explains, “Children as young as two were asked for feedback on which designs they liked. We gave them iPads and asked them to take photos of things they liked and things they didn’t. And when the design was complete, we invited a group of Reception students for their thoughts.”

In fact, one part of the design changed due to this consultation process. Chris continues, “One of the children, Joshua Katzin, thought one part looked dangerous. So we took his advice and added a safety net to the structure.”

The entire project, from inside to out, has been designed to enhance the flow of the learning environment, promoting and encouraging a more creative outdoor learning space where children are able to engage with the outdoors in a safe and stimulating way. The overall effect is enhanced by new natural wood furniture in light colours and with rounded shapes which, Chris says, allow children to move more freely in the spaces. She explains, “We want to encourage the children to flow naturally from one activity and area of learning to another. This new design does just that!”

Workers are busy with the finishing touches, and we'll have more photos soon.