A place to play and learn

5th September 2003 at 01:00
When our school had new playground equipment made, all 50 of our pupils got involved in ways which enhanced our design and technology, arts, science and environmental studies curriculum as well as contributing to our positive school ethos. Our pupils have emotional and behavioural difficulties and the project helped everyone think about working together and with adults from outside the school.

The playground continues to have an educational as well as a recreational value. For example, the water feature and sensory garden are both used for habitat studies in science and environment projects.

We asked a company called Hand Made Places (www.handmadeplaces.co.uk) to supply the equipment and their team led by Robin Ashfield ran two workshops in which pupils discussed things they would like in their playground. The children then designed motifs which would be engraved on one of the new playground features, an "A Mazin Bench" which can seat the whole school and is shaped like a maze.

Pupils also learned about measuring and planning the new playground and some of the older boys helped with laying out the mat surfacing around the bench. As work progressed Hand Made Places took groups of pupils on site and included quiz games which kept them thinking about all the elements that go into a project like this.

A dramatic feature at the entrance to the school is a big wooden dragon which pupils helped fill with plants.

Steven Tysom, science and environmental studies co-ordinator, Romans Field School, Milton Keynes

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