A playground questionnaire was given to all pupils. Fifty responses were received in February 2011 and these are summarized below:
What games do you play in the playground?
Games played, in order of popularity:
- Tig, chasing, running around, hide & seek and races
- Made up games were very popular and were largely based on TV, films or computer games (Atomic Betty, World Armies, Barbie, Batman, Bears, Dogs, Hannah Montana, Haunted Castles, Lion King, Mario Brothers, Ninjas, Pixies, Ponies, Racing Cars, Romans, Scooby Doo, Sonic, Star Wars, Superheroes, Surfers, Transformers, Vampires)
- Traditional games - Duck, Duck Goose, Boys v. Girls, Bulldogs, Red Red River and “What’s the Time Mr Wolf?”
- Role play games (Mums and Dads, Babies, Families or Dolls)
- Balls, Drawing, Dancing, Sparkler Sticks(?)
What do you like about the playground?
More comments (17) were received about the size and/or appearance of the playground than anything else. Children appreciated the size of the space available to them and comments included “Big and colourful”, “nice and tidy”, “It’s so big you can run in it.”
Simply being outdoors, getting to take toys outside, “getting to be loud” and being with friends was important (13 replies).
The train was popular (11 replies), followed by seating/benches/shelter (5), plants/trees/flowers (3), the boat (2). Shapes painted on the ground and the steps were also mentioned.
However, 6 replies noted that there was “nothing” they liked about the playground.
What do you dislike about the playground?
Of the 42 responses to this question, over half (22) disliked the surfacing material (“hard”, “full of potholes” “stones which hurt when you fall”).
High on the dislike list were the tyres and the lack of things to do/lack of choice.
Some children did not like the general appearance of the playground (“It doesn’t have paint on the walls and the other playground does.”)
A smaller number disliked the train, dirt areas/trees and the lack of grass.
Other things the children disliked includes the steps, not having anyone to play with, and getting crowded.
What play equipment would you like to see in the playground?
The top three choices were:
- monkey bars (over half of the 39 forms which expressed a preference)
- climbing frame or net
The remaining options, shown in order of popularity were:
- Giant Board Games
- Climbing Wall
- Trim Trail
- Balance beams
- Things that bounce/rock
- Chalk Boards
- Things that spin
Alternative suggestions included: Nature Trail, Painted Racetrack, Go-Kart, Flying Fox, Swing, Boat, Train, Treehouse, Slide, Maze.
Suggestions for small toys included: balls, binoculars, scarves, instruments, mirrors, ropes, magnets, bubble blower, skipping ropes, hula hoops, dolls house.
How would you like your playground to look?
By far the most suggested option was to have children’s artwork, painted walls and murals (32 suggestions).
Flowers, plants, palm trees and planters were common choices with several people suggesting a dedicated space to grow fruit, flowers and vegetables (“Planters that the children can help and get involved with doing”), or to attract wildlife (“A flower patch so you can watch bees smell them”)
“Bright” and “Colourful” were mentioned 16 times.
Children wanted games (“Giant Snakes & Ladders”) and/or art to be painted on the ground.
Nine children suggested mosaics.
Having a nice, clean and tidy space was important (“I would like it to look nice”).
Children mentioned having “lots to look at” and wanting it to be “exciting to be in”.
Other suggestions included flags, windsocks, wind-spinners, “Things with my name on” and themed areas (e.g. space and under the sea, Hogwarts)
What activities do you do on the grass area at the back of the school?
Opinion seems to be divided as to whether or not the children are allowed on the grassy area at playtimes with many children stating they “were not allowed” or had “never been” on the grassy area.
Outwith playtimes, learning activities that take place on the grassy area include:
- Golden Time
- Gym, School Sports Day practice
- Maths(ball catching/counting games)
- Project work (e.g. minibeasts)
What do you like about the grass area?
Overwhelmingly, the thing the children liked most was that it is “soft”. Many used the word “safe” e.g. “it is safe to run on and if you fall it won’t hurt”.
The second most popular aspect of the grass area was its size: “It is really big” “you could play football on it”.
Other reasons to enjoy the grass area were: flowers; being able to roll about, the garden/nature area and places to hide.
What don’t you like about the grass area?
Most responses to this question related not to any particular dislikes of the area itself, but to:
- not being allowed to use the grass area (“It’s not our playground.”) and
- the lack of toys and equipment.
Where there were opinions about the grass area itself, these were mostly weather-related (“muddy when wet”) or the jaggy weeds and bushes (which were a concern to 5 children).
Also mentioned were the appearance (“messy”), the expanse of space “too big”), logs and holes.
What other things would you like to see in the grass area?
Twenty five children would like to see goals (“goals, goals, goals…football pitch”).
Almost as many (24) suggested a type of tunnel.
Making the most of the natural environment was popular with 19 children suggesting flowers and plants, wildlife habitat boxes, feeders and hides to view birds and animals.
Suggestions for play equipment mirrored those mentioned previously for the playground area. New suggestions included maze, sports pitch, tent, mini golf/pitch & putt, low level trampoline, racetrack, zipline, “noisy things”, musical instruments, dinosaur statues, Pretend car/lorry, “kangaroos hopping about”, seating, sand and diggers.
Outdoor places, parks, woods and beaches were the most popular places to visit:
Unsurprisingly, parks with goals and extensive equipment were very popular:
Vogrie Park (spinning poles, slide, climbing frame, trampolines, flying fox, giant chair)
East Links Family Park (Fort, trampolines, animals, chute, zip runs, climbing area)
Dalkeith Adventure Park (slide, lots to see and do, flying fox, castle)
Local parks, Cemetery Park and Pennypit Park (slide, spinning net)
However, many children mentioned simple outdoor activities such as going for walks, observing nature etc. This included Gosford bothy’s nature trail, Figget Park, Portobello, with its wooden walkway into pond, Yellowcraigs for climbing, North Berwick with it is boats, parks and aviary, football fields, watching insects in the garden, spotting frogs at the Lagoons, building sandcastles or playing pirates at the beach, wobbling on big stones, walking the dog, going on scooters.
The Zoo/Safari Park/Butterfly Farm were the most popular purpose-built visitor centers with the animals/wildlife being the main draw.
Other favourite places mentioned: Monkey Business (nets and tunnels, climbing wall), Camera Obscura (tunnels, mazes and funny mirrors), Dynamic Earth (“lots of information”), Museums (“lots of information”), Center Parcs (the variety of activities), softplay centres, bowling, Storytelling Centre (“little doors you can open to see characters inside”), the library and the cinema.
(where not covered elsewhere)
“Areas that enhance children’s topics through imaginative play ie. castles, jungle area.”
“Areas to enhance children’s eco-awareness”
“A road with zebra crossings, traffic lights etc to teach road safety”
“Be a play park”
“Safe to walk on in winter”
“Use of the grass area to hold events: treasure hunts, picnics, competitions, painting…”
“Outdoor classroom (adult idea!)”
“Woodland walks and flower gardens”
“Make it colourful like a forest”
“Have lots of activities available”
“Places to sit and chat with friends”
“Places to play where it’s safe so if you fall you don’t get hurt”
“Let us use the grass more often!”
++++More of the following:
“active” activities, equipment, seating, colour, games painted on the ground, covered areas, grass, decorations, trees.
—-Less of the following:
potholes, thistles, stinging nettles.
Thank you to everyone who responded!