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While playground equipment is the centre piece to any playground, it’s often the site and less obvious details like undersurfacing and ancillary works that can distinguish a great playground design.
In particular, the location of a playground within a school plays a very important role in its long-term success.
By choosing your site carefully, you can maximise the use of your playground, reduce maintenance, increase the ease of teacher supervision, and ensure the playground is a safe and enjoyable space for everyone. You get peace of mind that your students are being cared for.
At adventure+ we look for several key factors when recommending a site area, and these can be food for thought when thinking about your next school playground.
Where possible, select a site that has minimal slope, large and is easily accessible. While adventure+ often works with slopping and complex spaces, a flat, open site will always give the playground designer more design options.
To ensure the use of your playground is maximised, you don’t want a playground to be too far away! Ensure that the junior play area is close to the junior classrooms and senior play area is close to the senior classrooms.
A playground located at the very far end of a large oval is much less attractive to play on that one that’s nearby. Build your playground close where students are – that way it is much more likely the playground will be used to the fullest during recess and you will get a great return on investment.
Supervision by teachers at recess and lunch times is most commonly required at schools, but this can be difficult if your students are spread out all over the school grounds.
Visibility can be improved by ensuring that the play area can be seen from a distance and is not tucked away. Playgrounds that are secluded can be a source of problems e.g., bullying and represent “black spots” in your school.
By choosing your site location carefully, you can make it easier to do yard duty – and enable a single teacher to monitor several areas at once.
When your playground requires servicing or a replenishing of mulch, it pays to have an easy to access playground. Where play areas can’t be easily accessed mulch has to be blown in, which can be expensive. Ensure an excavator or small bobcat can get access if any changes need to be made.
Shade is important for SunSmart initiatives, as well as providing a relaxing and comfortable play space for students. Where possible, situate a playground under trees or an existing shelter such as a shade sail. This will not only help children avoid the harsh afternoon sun but also protect the play equipment.
Your playground should be well contained and not impact negatively on the other areas in your school. Ensure there’s enough space so surfaces that spill out onto walkways don’t pose a hazard.
A common issue seen in school yards is an overflow of undersurfacing such as sand or mulch onto walkways which can pose a hazard. This needs to be considered when selecting the playground location. How will the undersurfacing be contained and will there be pathways around the playground that could be impacted by spilt undersurfacing?
adventure+ work directly with schools to design and install engaging playgrounds that tick all the boxes. Call us today on 1300 237 587 to talk about your next play project.