The playground setting serves a critical role in a child’s development. From growing self-confidence, to developing social skills, learning through play, getting active and spending more time outdoors. As a school, a playground is one of the most valuable investments you can make to create the best learning experiences for your students. But how do you ensure your new playground not only meets safety guidelines, but creates an engaging design?
Particularly with international schools, there are unique considerations to ensure your playground design is inclusive and drives a sense of belonging for your students. Let’s explore how to best plan your international school playground!
The Lay of the Land
Before beginning to plan your international school playground design, it is important to look at your current school grounds. Will the playground be positioned on sloping land? Or will it be placed on a flatter surface? Alternatively, is the playground area in a narrow and long space? Or will it be in an open area? What free space do you have available?
Next, consider all other man-made and non-manmade elements located on school grounds. Your school’s land topography will help to narrow down what playground pieces and design will work best. Our expert team can also utilise these existing elements on your school grounds to create a beautiful and enticing playground environment.
Location, Location, Location!
Another consideration is the location where the playground will be situated. It is important particularly for younger students, that the playground is not located too far away from the classroom. For example, placing a playground at the back of the school away from main fairways might reduce the playground’s use and therefore decrease the value of your investment.
School playgrounds should also be located in an area that can be supervised at a distance. This is so staff and parents can ensure all children are playing safely. By choosing a central spot you can also reduce the number of teachers needed as they can easily monitor multiple areas by themselves.
Maintenance & Cleaning
To preserve the longevity of your international school playground equipment it is recommended sunshades and trees are used. This also provides shade to the children while they play, reducing their exposure to the sun. Other options include play equipment that features roofs or shades in the design. Depending on the climate of your region, this may become a very important consideration.
Another consideration is the surface used to cover the playground area and its proximity to walkways. Sand and mulch can easily transfer from the playground floor to nearby paths which can cause a safety hazard. This also adds to the maintenance and cleaning responsibilities of the school.
The playground should also be easily accessible by a car or excavator. This will reduce the cost to replenish the playground flooring (e.g. mulch, bark and sand).
However, there are surfacing options that don’t require loose-fill surfacing such as unitary playground surfacing and playground mats. This may be a more cost-effective option and reduce the need for regular maintenance.
Who will use the school playground?
It is also important to consider who will use your school playground and how they will be using the equipment. Does your school run outdoor classroom sessions? Or is this space a place for the children to play during lunch time?
Often meeting with the school board, parents, stakeholders and even your students can help to determine the main needs and requirements of your school’s playground. This can also help to increase the synergy between parents by involving them in part of the planning process.
From this, you can begin to formulate a wish list of items you would like incorporated into your playground design. This could include modular play systems, musical instruments, sand and water play, trampolines, climbing nets and more. To ensure your playground is inclusive to all, our product range also includes equipment that is accessible to all students who may attend your school.
Another consideration is if the playground is to have a theme. A themed play environment is known to excite and engaging children as they unlock a brand-new world to explore in their own school. At Playground Centre we offer a range of different themed playground options including ships, animals, tree huts and more.
After planning these elements of your school playground design, you’re ready to consult with playground designers and landscape architects to bring all your ideas to life! Our team at Playground Centre have extensive experience with designing international school playgrounds all over the world for children of all ages. So, you can be confident that our expert team can realise your vision and take your international school facilities to the next level.