Phillimore Community Primary School have recently received a brand new, state of the art playground thanks to Playscheme, Sainsbury’s, the Youth Sport Trust and Paralympics GB.
The extensive development came after the school was awarded a £50,000 makeover prize following their participation in Sainsbury’s Active Kids Paralympic Challenge, and was officially opened in October 2017 by Paralympian Jonnie Peacock!
Last summer, Playscheme were given the great honour of being involved with Sainsbury’s Active Kids Paralympic Challenge. This is a partnership between Sainsbury’s, the Youth Sport Trust and Paralympics GB, that aims to get more young people involved in inclusive sport and to raise awareness of paralympic sports.
By participating in challenges, schools had the opportunity to win prizes, including GB Paralympic Athlete visits, a trip to Rio for the 2016 Paralympic Games and an inclusive playground makeover.
After uploading an amazing showcase to the website that demonstrated how the school has embraced the programme and encouraged young people to be active, the Sheffield based primary school claimed the makeover prize!
Our work began when we started to develop traditional sporting styles, games panels and equipment to be appropriate, innovative and fun for the primary school environment. Designs included boccia courts, pitch and putt courses, gymnastics and dance areas, parkour equipment and team working games.
These design ideas and concepts were then presented to the teams at Sainsbury’s and Youth Sport Trust and the favourite parts were incorporated into a 3D drawing of Phillimores playground.
The children were also consulted before the process began, with one saying: “It is amazing. We are very excited! We could have a climbing area, or gymnastics, things we can jump off or a spiders web!”
Inspiring exercise and encouraging activity
Emphasis was placed on developing the site into a tailor made play area that encourages teamwork and sport amongst children, while making the most of the existing playground and features.
A number of sports and activity led features have been installed, including a 50 metre two lane sprint track, gymnastic area and parkour adventure trail. Along with the sprint track, a ‘Mile a Day Trail’ that runs throughout the playground has been added to encourage exercise, healthy living and friendly competitiveness.
The newly installed gymnastic area consists of coloured artifical grass with 10mm shock pad, making it ideal for floor exercise and physical literacy.
The sports area has also received some welcome additions, with two outdoor table tennis tables placed behind the existing basketball and football court.
A balancing act
The parkour adventure trail is one of the playground’s most unique and interesting features. This equipment has been installed to replicate the activity of free running, which improves children’s balance, climbing and jumping, as well as building confidence in the process. With a range of different levels, this equipment can be tailored to suit all abilities and children.
The immediate surrounding area is safeguarded by artificial grass and reinforced with shock pads, ensuring all participants remain safe while enjoying the exciting ‘risks’ of climbing and jumping.
Appealing to the senses
Next to the parkour adventure trail is a revamped sensory and performance area. This existing area has been given an overhaul, with the installation of slip resistant decking for all weather purposes and artificial grass for extra seating. Fitted against the inside wall, this area has become home to sensory impacting features, such as mirrors, whiteboards and instrument panels – all of which can be used for performance and learning, with the help of the raised stage platform.
The existing story telling seat has been relocated to the corner of this setting, which together with the addition of seating and artificial grass make it the perfect snug for class story telling.
Gillian Briggs, headteacher at Phillimore Primary School, said: “It is fantastic to have won such an incredible prize which has transformed the outside space at our school. We work extremely hard to ensure all our pupils are as active as possible and this makeover will enhance that further.”
Jo Searle, Specialist PE Teacher commented: “One child stated that she could tell there had been so much thought put into the design as everyone now had something they could do outside which they could enjoy!”
Improving decision making and boosting co-ordination
The final area of the transformed outdoor space is again targeted at inspiring exercise and making children active. The first feature in this area is a bouldering wall that stretches over 10 metres, challenging skill, strength and decision making. Similar to the parkour adventure trail, this installation can be suited to multiple difficulties, with varying pathways and levels for a range of abilities. Safety reassurance is again provided by artificial grass with shock pad underlay.
Next to the bouldering wall we have installed a floor based island hoping map. As with a number of the installations delivered in this makeover, this activity space can really improve children’s teamwork, while also helping to boost balance and co-ordination.
Children have already learnt valuable lessons from the play area, with one commenting they had learnt that “teamwork is the best medicine and when you are not happy, people around you can always help you”.
To cap off the revamped playground, this area has also welcomed an artificial grass play mound, featuring a sweeping hill and tunnel. Nearby we’ve made use of the existing large umbrella by adding bench seating for rest and shade during those hot summer days.
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Unit G8 Elvington Industrial Estate, York Road, Elvington, York, YO41 4AR