How to make the most of school outdoor learning spaces
School outdoor learning spaces will be key as schools implement social distancing measures.
Schools have already done an incredible job of adapting to the new DFE guidance on how to stay safe amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Now they’re finding all sorts of innovative ways to use their existing infrastructure to support learning. One of these is creating school outdoor learning spaces that provide extra capacity, fresh air and natural learning inspiration!
Recently, we were fortunate to work with One World Montessori Nursery in London. They approached us to create some beautiful school Wall Art that would complement their outdoor space. Staff were keen to inject an air of countryside escapism into their inner city nursery.
Nature and nurture
We’ve talked before about the immense benefits of spending time in nature. For schools in particular, nature-themed Wall Art is proven to have a positive impact on learning and pupil wellbeing. With this in mind, we were delighted to design some bespoke nature-themed Wall Art for One World Montessori Nursery.
We set to work designing a beautiful woodland scene for the nursery school’s outdoor space. Trees, greenery, wildlife and flora all work together to create a calm, serene setting.
We wanted to add interest to the design to spark children’s curiosity. But it was equally important to avoid the artwork being too loud, so it wouldn’t distract pupils from their learning and play!
Work with what you’ve got
When designing Wall Art for school outdoor learning spaces, we take a sympathetic approach. Our designs need to look fantastic, of course. But they need to complement the existing features, architecture and look of the area too.
In fact, our main aim is to install artwork that looks like it’s always been there. We often paint certain features to blend in with the artwork. Or we select a similar colour palette and imagery so the mural matches its environment.
In the case of the One World Montessori Nursery project, the same applied. We had a lovely large outdoor wall to work with. It included a small gate and a few natural twists and turns that we kept in mind when working on the design. The feature wall was also flanked by some very natural looking wooden fencing. So the overall effect works really well.
Play and learn
The nursery’s outdoor space features artificial turf, which is ideal for busy little learners who like to make a mess! This type of ground covering is well suited to the unpredictable British weather. So it’s a great option for a school outdoor learning space. The turf adds to the feeling of being in nature, so it complements the Wall Art design beautifully too.
The end result is a perfect patch for pupils to play and learn. A perspex roof covers some of the garden. So this area can easily be used to create additional learning space all year round if needed. This is a tactic many schools might also consider as a way to extend their available learning space for pupils. It could prove very useful as an outdoor classroom, break out space or mini-assembly hall.