When St Joseph’s Primary got a new head teacher one of the first things she noticed was the potential for an exciting play space in the school grounds. They had an enormous underused tarmac space in a very urban setting with few play opportunities. It was a space calling for a vision.
Her goal was to create a rich play environment for all ages: lots of loose parts, appropriate physical challenges, opportunities for creative expression and quiet areas for children to eat their lunches, read and rest. She also wanted to green the school, softening the area with more trees and bushes.
There was one big limitation: the school is a church school which is used as a car park on Sundays, so in certain areas we had to stick to the edges of the space to not interfere with parking. We found out the maximum area we could occupy for play and worked right to that edge.
Hover over the images to learn more about the design.
An unused wooden gazebo becomes a den making space by attaching eyebolts to the legs of the gazebo and providing lots of ropes and tarps to make their own structures.
A corner stage with a wooden back for attaching backdrops and a seating area for the audience which doubles as a teaching space.
The open-ended character of the structures offers endless opportunities for physical and imaginative play.
A big sand pit under an old bike shelter provides rain and sun cover. Tyre planters with bushes and plants will grow to conceal less aesthetic features and provide a softer, greener play environment.
Planting provides wildlife habitat, while also reducing air pollution and noise bouncing around flat hard surfaces.
Cycle through our other playscapes