Acorn Park SEN School
Playground equipment that makes a difference inside the classroom and out
Acorn Park School is a school for children who are diagnosed as autistic and their needs range considerably. They have children who are over 6 feet tall and are operating between 4 and 6 years of age. They need to climb, swing, slide, and experience all the sensory feedback that youngsters of that age experience through their normal childhood progression.
Acorn Park School wanted to install a facility that would provide a truly inclusive, active play in a safe environment and offer the maximum play value.
The school have a strong set of values. They are: To Care, Strive, Grow and Thrive. The new playground now provides them with lots of opportunities to see those values in action. They now see the children caring and supporting each other as they play. They are able to use the equipment to regulate, to calm down, or to use to alert, so that when they go back into the classroom, they are able to sit on a chair, to listen to a teacher, to engage.
“The impact has been quite easy to measure. We have a hexagonal 3D climber and to see some of our gruff youngsters who are not having a great experience that morning says, ‘Right I’m off to that, and I’m going to sit up there’ and give us the right what for. And that’s great, and what is great from my perspective is that they have chosen a safe piece of equipment, with a safe flooring underneath it. They can sit at height and experience some risk. They can be separated from their peers, and by virtue of making that choice independently, again re-regulated and able to re-engage in learning. And it has been really pleasing that because we can direct children that are dysregulated into an appropriate space to deal with that emotional state our rates of restraint have fallen by nearly 90%.”
Peter Marshall, Head of Service, Acorn Park School
Create truly inclusive Playground experiences
Since the 1980’s we have been on a mission to create inclusive playgrounds. An inclusive playground ensures that all children feel part of the community and experience a sense of belonging at the playground. At the heart of our inclusive playground equipment lies a dream of creating equity in access and use.
PhysicalJoy of movement: motor skills, muscle, cardio and bone density
Social-EmotionalJoy of being together: teamwork, tolerance and sense of belonging
CognitiveJoy of learning: curiosity, understanding of causal relationships and knowledge of the world
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