Multi-Skills Playground Markings at Little Ealing School

Little Ealing Primary School, Weymouth Avenue, London, W5 4EA

ESP have recently worked with Little Ealing Primary to add multi-skills activity to the playground area. We implemented our multi-skills markings to allow children to practice skills applicable to a wide range of sporting activity.

The school were keen to see an increase in physical activity and these markings were an excellent choice for this purpose. With a wide choice of games and a multitude of uses, the children can set goals to their own ability while pushing themselves to improve. Teachers also see benefits across the curriculum too, as these playground markings can be used to take lessons outdoors. A variety of numeracy and literacy games are all possible and are great fun for the children. Physical activity is a great way to engross the children in learning. More and more schools throughout the country are deciding to to take this rewarding route and are pleased with the results.

Alongside the Famous 5 Multi-Skills markings, the school also chose to include a netball court.

Included Multi-skills Playground Markings
  • Fast Feet
  • Nine Square Grid
  • Target Trainer
  • Ring Step
  • Multi-Step Column

The History of Playgrounds – Past, Present and Future.

Playgrounds are places designed for children to enjoy themselves in a carefree environment. A modern day playground is brimming with a wide range play equipment such as swings, slides, trim trails, play towers, sand boxes, jungle bars, playground markings and much more. Playgrounds help with the development of physical strength, fitness, co-ordination and flexibility; whilst providing a great place for interaction and enjoyment.


The introduction of playgrounds.

The idea of the playground originated in Germany and was invented as a platform for teaching children correct ways to play. The first purpose built children’s playground was built in 1859 in a park in Manchester, England. Although they had appeared before this period, playgrounds were properly introduced to the United States by President Roosevelt in 1907, of which he said:

“City streets are unsatisfactory playgrounds for children because of the danger, because most good games are against the law, because they are too hot in summer, and because in crowded sections of the city they are apt to be schools of crime. Neither do small back yards nor ornamental grass plots meet the needs of any but the very small children. Older children who would play vigorous games must have places especially set aside for them; and, since play is a fundamental need, playgrounds should be provided for every child as much as schools. This means that they must be distributed over the cities in such a way as to be within walking distance of every boy and girl, as most children can not afford to pay carfare.”

Playground Trends

London first witnessed the introduction of ’junk playgrounds’ in the period following World War II,  via the landscape architect and children’s rights campaigner Lady Allen of Hurtwood. She changed the name to ‘Adventure Playground’ in 1953; creating the National Playing Fields Association (now Fields in Trust), which saw the coordination of adventure playground projects throughout the country. These playgrounds were constructed from recycled ‘junk’ which the NPFA provided in order for children to design and create playgrounds in spaces such as bomb sites, building sites and wasteland.

Since then, playgrounds have seen many design trends and playground design can now be seen as a form of artistic architecture. A good design is considered: challenging but safe, aesthetically pleasing, cost effective and innovative. Materials that have been used and continue to be used include: wood, HDPE plastic, steel, aluminium, rope, rubber, artificial grass and many more. Most modern playground incorporate all these materials. Wood is currently very trendy due to its natural and decorative properties. It is common to see climbing frames, trim trails and swing posts using wood as a main material.

Laws of the modern playground

The 1980′s saw many laws and legislations come into play (no pun intended!) in order to avoid injuries to children. This area requires a blog of its own but a couple of important points include:

  • No sharp points or edges
  • Gaps must measure less than 3.5 inch or more than 9 inch.
  • Equipment more than 30inches high must be at least 9 foot appart.

These laws have helped prevent danger in playgrounds but designers are met with the challenge of making playgrounds equally fun whilst still being safe and legal. Good playground design requires concentration on both points in equal measures.


Playgrounds in Schools

School playgrounds incorporate playground equipment, playground markings and curriculum based items to provide children with an exciting learning zone.  ESP are experts in this area and are constantly researching, innovating and providing schools with products that incorporate the curriculum into the playground. Our multi-skills thermoplastic markings are a perfect example of building fundamental movement skills amongst children; meanwhile our science, maths and performance products use playground equipment to fuse activity and education into the outdoor play area.

In recent years there has a considerable increase in interest for the health and fitness of children; consequently schools have focussed more attention to the outdoor areas. This has resulted in more adventurous playgrounds becoming more common and it is not rare to see a school playground featuring far more than just a hopscotch and a netball court. Modern sports are encouraged in equal measures and our ‘Free:D’ Parkour for Schools range has proven very popular throughout the country.

The future of playgrounds?

Who knows what the future holds for playgrounds. In the UK, the ‘Olympic Legacy’ was supposed to increase sporting activity in schools, but the success rate only provided disappointment. Competitive sports have long been encouraged throughout the sporting curriculum. Maybe now is the time to let the children play and choose there own physical activities. We are strong believers that multi-skills playgrounds encourage skills that can be applied to every sporting activity; competitive or otherwise. Hopefully playgrounds of the future will offer more choice to children and more schools will encourage their children with more than just competitive sports. We offer the best of both worlds, join in with the fun!


By Matt Heap
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If you use this information as a source on your website, please link back to this blog.


Specialist PE teachers in Schools?

According to recent reports, the head of youth sport has called for specialist PE teachers in all UK schools. We hope this will result in more playground activity and better use of playground equipment after feeling disappointed with the reports stating a 60% drop in sport activity in the wake of government cuts. This comes at a time when the country is in debate about Michael Gove’s decision to enforce competitive sport while deeming none competitive sports to be less important.

Despite Grove’s decision, ESP are huge supporters of all sporting activity, competitive or otherwise. We believe that all children deserve the chance to participate in sports that makes them happy and physically active. It is refreshing to know that schools up and down the country continue to share our views whilst recent news reports have not affected the success of our multi-skills playground markings. These markings are a great way to build fundamental movement skills applicable to a wide range of sporting activities,  including football, basketball, gymnastics, dance and many more. The possibilities are endless.

A more detailed report on these political debates can be found at The Guardian Website.


St John’s Mead send ‘thank you’ cards to ESP

ESP were pleasantly surprised to receive a handful of hand made cards made by the children at St John’s Mead Church of England Primary school in Bristol where we recently fit an Octagonal shelter with Sides, Seats and Decking. There were smiles all round when each member of the team involved received an individual, personally addressed card to place on their desk. Here are some of the artistic front covers of the children at the school.

According to the children, the octagonal shelter proved to be a very useful piece of play equipment during their Olympic Scavenger Hunt in which they used the shelter as a base to shield them from the rain. The shelter is one of our most popular and well received products. Its attractive styling, durability, quality and size make it a favourite item in primary schools, high schools, SEN schools and nursery playground development projects.

The Octagonal Shelter with Sides, Seating and Decking

Our Octagonal Shelter with Sides, Seating and Decking is the ideal way for schools to create a sheltered outdoor seating area. With seating for up to 25 children and enclosed side panels, this excellent piece of playground equipment is ideal for use before, after and during school hours and also doubles up as an outdoor classroom. The decking allows the shelter to be placed anywhere within the school playground and provides a solid, clean surface all year round. The Shelter is the perfect solution for taking the curriculum outdoors whilst maintaining a functional classroom environment and can even be used as a waiting area for parents or a relaxing getaway for teachers. Suitable for year round use, it provides a shaded place for children to sit during Summer and a great hide-out during those Winter months.


Positive Reviews of Our Science CPD Training Program

ESP have recently been collecting Evaluations for our Science CPD training programs and playground equipment and the results have been very positive.

Our science CPD training includes a range of activities based around our science play equipment which teachers can apply to curriculum based learning. Our experienced and enthusiastic staff have been praised for their excellent delivery and useful lessons. The teacher training programs are recognised by a range of national agencies who all agree that these programs deliver useable and effective practical examples. Each training session maximises play, physical activity and outdoor learning across the 4 core curriculum subjects and makes use of every piece of science playground equipment.

Comments on our CPD Science Training Program

Here are some of the comments from our recent visit to Tyne View Primary in Newcastle:

“Superb Delivery – Thought provoking and refreshing. Thank you”

“Very Enthusiastic, great presentation”

“This has been valuable training and I will use it in all my lessons, not just science”

Science playground equipment

Our Science Play range includes a number of different pieces of outdoor playground equipment designed to make the science curriculum more fun and physical. As well as a range of individual pieces we also offer a number of packages. These packages are designed to suit different sizes and budgets while offering the best combination of products. We may also put together individual elements for a bespoke package best suited for your needs. Our design team can advice you on the best way to incorporate the science play equipment into your playground development scheme. Click here for more info on our free playground design service.