When schools decide to renovate their playgrounds, it’s usually because they want to replace old surfacing and equipment and provide pupils with better outdoor amenities. While these improvements provide benefits in their own right, what many schools don’t realise until later is that modernising a playground can also offer some rather unsurprising benefits too. Here we take a look at what these are.
A source of income
Depending on the type of new facilities you have installed during a makeover, it is possible that these can be a source of income for the school. Over time, this could mean that the renovation actually pays for itself.
Outdoor sports facilities are particularly helpful as there may be local groups or teams that might want to hire them. Indeed, in some locations, the availability of rentable school sports facilities has led to new local groups being set up. The potential to earn is especially high if you have installed artificial grass pitches or court markings for football, netball, basketball, rounders, cricket or tennis. Outdoor gyms can also be popular with local fitness groups.
Aside from sports, there may be demand for the play facilities you install. Local childcare providers might want to use the playground during school holidays and parents might even want to hire it out at the weekend for birthday parties.
Attract more pupils
If your school is undersubscribed, it could be due to the fact that parents aren’t too impressed with the facilities in your playground. Indeed, as the outdoor space is the first thing potential parents see, if it looks wanting, they may worry that this represents the school as a whole.
As first impressions count, renovating your playground so that it looks fresh, fun and inviting can transform perceptions about the school. If it looks that good on the outside, parents will be keen to take a look inside on open evenings, giving you more potential to be fully subscribed.
Better behaved kids
Sending kids out to play in a dull-looking, unstimulating playground is a recipe for bad behaviour. Drab, grey playgrounds lower the mood and with little to do, children become bored and fractious. This can lead to mischief, increase the risk of accidents and cause incidents of bullying. In environments like this, rather than kids letting off steam during break times, they often return to class even more pent up and this can result in lessons being disrupted.
A playground renovation is a perfect time to consider the types of playground equipment that will keep your pupils active and engaged during break times, lowering the potential for misbehaviour during free time and back in the classroom.
Improve memory and thinking skills
Studies by scientists at Harvard have shown that people’s memory and thinking skills are improved when they take part in regular physical activity. With children having fewer opportunities for active play outside of school, installing active play apparatus in the playground ensures these vital skills can be enhanced. In this way, time spent getting physical in the playground can lead to better attainment in the classroom – which is great for the children and the school.
Tackle mental health issues
Mental health is a major issue affecting the whole population, however, the effects of the lockdown mean young people have been particularly impacted. Today, there are not just more young people with mental health disorders; the age at which they are being diagnosed is getting younger. One way a school playground makeover can help to tackle this problem is to ensure that any upgrade provides increased opportunities for physical activity. Regular, moderate physical activity has been shown to have a positive effect on children with disorders like anxiety and depression, while helping to prevent others from developing mental health problems. Sports markings and climbing equipment can be particularly helpful here.
At the same time, by including a quiet, nature zone in your playground design, a school can create a calm outdoor space for those children that need to get away from the hustle and bustle of the classroom and busy playground.
Redeveloping a tired playground provides unique opportunities for both the pupils and the school. For the pupils, it is a chance to offer a much wider range of outdoor activities that cater for different children’s needs and interests. However, this can also have benefits for their learning and their mental and physical health. For the schools, a well-designed revamp can result in improved behaviour, growth in admissions and the potential to earn additional income.
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