Primary school children in Hallaton village, Leicestershire, were overjoyed to receive a dedicated space to learn and play freely outside, in the fresh air. We replaced a gravelled no-go zone with a year-round outdoor shelter and a brand-new playground. Hallaton CE’s timber shelter features comfortable benches, which can seat a class of children, and a vibrant carpet of artificial green grass. Come rain or shine, this weather-proof outdoor learning environment will be filled with laughter and learning for years to come.
Hallaton CE Primary playground
A timber outdoor classroom
We jumped at the chance to help this primary school find the perfect outdoor learning solution for their pupils. Space for the open-air classroom wasn’t an issue, but the condition of the proposed site was far from ideal. An unloved and overgrown gravel section would need to be cleared before a fresh, blank canvas could be established. Next, it would be in with the new playground surfaces. The classroom itself had to seat school pupils comfortably, providing shade from the sun and shelter from drizzle, while remaining well- ventilated with fresh air, and made from long-lasting natural materials.
Pyramid roof tops off an outdoor learning environment
We designed the school’s square timber shelter with an open front and inviting slatted side walls, and pencilled in fixed wooden benches to serve as comfy perches for the school children. We proposed a four-sided pyramid roof to shrug off rainfall, and an artificial grass surface for an extra outdoorsy atmosphere. Weeds, roots and gravel must give way to a classic palette of playground surfaces, including artificial grass, rubber and resin-bound rubber mulch. A classic black playground surface would connect the shelter to the school building and be flanked by more artificial green lawn, sweeping out to meet the playground’s boundary.
A fresh start in the fresh air
Out went the gloomy gravel and in came a safe, fully-functional learning zone with a fresh, natural feel – much to the excitement of teachers and children alike. The school children love to learn in their outdoor setting, whether it’s in the fresh morning air or accompanied by afternoon birdsong. This age-appropriate and inspiring space is a triumph of hard work, clean lines and classic playground materials.