Importance of Zoning
Children, parents and staff can all benefit from imaginative zoning of the outdoor playground space.
Every member of the school community should have a vested interest in how best to develop the outdoor playground equipment and space. The outside is often an untapped resource that can add immense value to the good work going on inside. It is essential that everyone (the PTA, school council, site manager, lunchtime supervisors) are involved in the planning of the zones, as this will increase ownership of the project, help with fundraising, and keep up momentum and enthusiasm over time. Major outdoor developments require long-term support from the school community for maximum results.
The cost implications of a major project can often ‘put off’ potential development. It is possible however, to gradually transform the school grounds by zoning the space into different areas of interest or activity. Zoning enables one priority area to be completed at a time, whilst retaining an overall grand plan.
Some of the zones that can be created are essential, such as an area that encourages health and fitness. However, many of the zone designs will be dependent upon the available space. It is often the schools with a limited space that have the most to gain from careful zoning. A positive outdoor playground environment can be created on a small site through ‘doubling up’ the zones offering different opportunities for the whole school community.