Just over 5 months ago, the community in Baraa opened the playground for over 1,500 school children. It was a great occasion and marked the completion of a collaborative effort to enable all children to play. It was also the start of a playful adventure for the children, teachers and visitors.
5 months on and the playground equipment are being regularly used by the children and well maintained by the school. We worked with the local engineering team during the design process and decided to use steel components to make the majority of the play equipment. Although steel can be more costly than timber, the school environment is prone to termites and consequently the life time of the play equipment. This community lead decision, appears to have been the right one, as the play equipment are standing strong! and loved by the children! In addition the community Partner, Tore,‘ All visitors also like the playground a lot. It gives the school a very good look.‘
So how are the children finding the play equipment?
The elephant slide and swings are regularly used by the children and loved by all. The elephant shape of the slide is very unique and by designing a wide slide area, the children are able to go down the slide in pairs or event groups of three. This reduces the queuing time, which I am sure you will agree is a good thing in a school of over 1,500 children. I still remember queuing to go down the slide when i was younger, having wider slides would have definitely saved me time and it would have been fun to go down the side with my friends or children I had just met.
The balance beams are also frequently used. The balance beam enable the children to have fun and take risks while developing their motor skills and improving their balance. The school have a gymnastics club, and the balance beans were selected by the children to cater to their gymnastic needs.
The sensory play equipment (Play ship and calculator tyre) are used but not as frequently. Initially the children were using the ropes between the poles of the ship as swings. As the ropes were not designed to withstand swinging, consequently the school decided it would be safer to remove them. It is important that the children feel safe and are safe using the play equipment.
At Dream Networks, we focus on ensuring a creative and sustainable play area is designed and built that is tailored to the communities needs. The play ground is built and used, so some could say that we have done our job. However I want more of the children to benefit from sensory play. As a result, i am currently speaking to the school to see how this equipment can be made more engagaing and usable by children. I will let you know what progress is made in a future blog post.
If you have any ideas, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org