If your school grounds are well developed already then you will probably know what is required next. But what if your outdoor school environment is not particularly inspiring with few interesting features? Where are you going to start?
In this scenario, here are the options:
- Enhance any area that is already attractive and interesting. By enhancing and evolving that (already) pleasant space, the new development will have extra appeal and will be one step closer to making one great place. If there is only a tree, then start there, make a seating area underneath it and use it for eating lunches, storytelling, class activities etc. If there are trees or a copse of trees, then create a special play area; a bike track; a village of dens; a greenwood coppice craft area, etc.
- Start near. Make an area close to where people are so that it will be well used all year.
- Plant trees. Trees are the lowest cost option for any project, yet they grow into priceless objects providing shade, shelter, habitat, beauty and options for future projects (see 1).
See the 3 illustrations above. Log edgings/branches (diameter 200-300 mm) are laid around the tree and filled with wood chip. Similarly, a path of log edged wood chip links the playground to the tree. A simple, but attractive structure is constructed around the tree, and this becomes the focus for outdoor lunches, storytelling, class activities, social interaction, balancing etc…..a low cost, multi-functional asset providing all year use.