St Michael's Primary School in Birmingham were in the fortunate position of having a generous amount of outdoor space, but this was very uninspired, a flat patch of grass that was prone to becoming boggy.
With a vision of creating a more developmentally appropriate learning space, St Michael's called upon educational outdoor specialists, Playgarden, who created a detailed design brief to transform the space.
St Michaels had a significant budget of £100,000 and have used it wisely to create a staggering outdoor space. The sand and water zone is the first area that pupils come into contact with as they enter the space, with a pebble stream, playscape, mushroom water pump and sand tables and water channels.
An extended network of pathways, with roundabouts and zebra crossings dissect the site, creating a mini road network for wheeled toys and play journeys. The layout helps nurture consideration of other path / road users. Head Teacher at St Michael's, Samantha Cosgrove comments:-
"Working with Playgarden has been great, their Landscape Architect was quick to seize the opportunities of the space and the finished designs were beautiful. The play area is being very well used, although the staff are still learning about the best way to make the most of the site, they can already see the wonderful opportunities it gives the children. It has certainly got people talking, we have had several head teachers from neighbouring schools come out to look at the site and have received so many compliments."
A concrete pipe den provides an exciting hidey hole for quiet conversation, or more exerting obstacle activities.
Grass mounds are used to add interest, encouraging children's physical development as they negotiate the mounds, and use the small metal slide to come down again.
Timber rounds and a playable boundary, with stile, provide challenging and interesting options for travelling into and through the site. Rich planting around the site has created a lush landscape, one that will change through the seasons and prove attractive to birds and mini beasts.