With health and safety becoming more of a pressing concern in all aspects of life, we now try and reduce risk wherever possible. Whilst this is undoubtedly a great thing in the workplace, especially in manual workplaces, we run the risk of limiting ourselves. Preschools, primary schools and nursery schools nowadays are limiting outdoor time as they are afraid of the risk.
We believe this will really limit students as outdoor play and learning are so vital to the holistic development of students. With outdoor playground equipment designed by Red Monkey Play, you don’t have to worry about safety issues. With high-quality material and childproofing, we make sure through clever playground design that students are safe to explore with our equipment.
The Current State of Education Funding
The education sector is taking a hit under this current Government. Analysis by the House of Commons Library found that real-terms spending on schools and colleges had slumped from £95.5bn in 2011/12 to £87.8bn last year, a total fall of £7.7bn.
With these budget cuts throughout the country on education, schools are finding it harder than ever to cope with management. This can be seen with countless national and local teacher strikes across the country, even just this past month there has been a strike.
This means schools are being forced into making a lot of difficult decisions with their budgets. One of the solutions many schools are turning to is changing the timings of the school day. With classroom time being prioritised, this often eats into break times. This is naturally where children will have time in outdoor spaces, where they can interact with each other with school playground equipment.
The Budget and Safety Dilemma
This issue of shortening break times has come about recently because schools now have complete control of their timetables. This has led to schools increasingly shortening the school day to decrease spend to try and cope with the cuts. It saves on the budget in a number of ways, namely by having the school open for less time but also allowing teachers to spend less time on supervision and more on lesson planning. This is over increased concerns over children hurting themselves during breaks.
We are living in an era where childrens’ movement is being restricted because of safety concerns, subjecting them to increased adult control and reducing the quality time they have for social interaction with their peers. These social situations give children opportunities to be adventurous, in particular in an emotional context, to control these emotions and to experiment with new ways of collaborating with each other.
A link has also been shown between shorter lunch breaks and an increase in sedentary behaviour in children, with 60 minutes of daily activity being recommended, including walking. Consequently, a shorter lunch break will be a large setback to any strategy for increasing physical activity amongst children.
Why Does Outdoor Play Equipment for Schools Matter?
So how does our playground equipment facilitate outdoor learning and development? We use our playground design experience to create a bespoke play environment for your schools, which encourages students to learn through play. We can create exciting playground zones for children of all ages, ranging from early years to primary school children.
Children improve their ability to acquire new skills through play and hence play should be actively utilised as a means to improve learning rather than just a break during a day in daycare or school. Based on this, we find that curriculum for all parts of the educational system – from nursery to secondary schools – set increasingly ambitious targets for the development of children. So having outdoor classrooms or playground areas really help your school.
This means with our wide range of playground equipment, outdoor playtime can double up as learning time for children of all ages and abilities. The main concern with schools and cutting these times is that it isn’t cost-effective. We make sure your playgrounds are cost-effective by having this nature of duality, allowing your students to always be learning even during breaks. For example, our role play playground equipment allows students to develop their performance and social skills holistically.
How Red Monkey Play Makes Our Equipment Safe
When creating our innovative playground areas, we always take safety into account. One of the main ways that we do this is through the use of materials. We use wood as we believe it not only encourages sensory exploration but it is safe.
Wood does not heat up under the sun and has less ‘finger traps.’ These are small hinges or crevices where children can trap their fingers and hurt themselves. Wooden playground equipment is built to have fewer finger traps and other dangerous hinges or mechanisms for them to hurt themselves on.
All of our installations come with a comprehensive guarantee on the timber and fittings and safety is our highest priority. We ensure that all installations meet the requirements of all current safety standards and are constructed from the highest quality play grade timber. We can also provide maintenance and safety inspections. Find out more about how we work when undertaking a playground design project.
How We’ve Made Safe Spaces in the Past
We have worked with a number of schools to create some bespoke playground spaces, which are safe for the specific students involved. One example is Ashmount Primary School, where we were tasked with creating an exciting playground area accessible to their disabled students and those with learning disabilities.
Red Monkey Play embraced this challenge and created several diverse areas to suit a variety of pupils. A charming planting area, where children can get their hands dirty and watch nature take its course, including a bespoke wheelchair accessible planting station.
A separate area included a large bespoke pirate ship with wheelchair access. On the lower decks are engaging moving sensory panels, allowing children to develop their coordination and dexterity. Little sailors could climb onto the upper decks and take control of their ship with the moving steering wheel. To see more examples like this, discover the rest of our playground design case studies.
Get in Touch Today
If you’re interested in transforming your outdoor space and making it a centre for learning and play, we’re on hand to help. Check out the playground inspiration behind all our work so you get a good idea of what you should expect. Get in touch today!