Commissioned by the Department of Environment’s softening pilot project, we had to think about the lessons we are learning after our playground redesign. Of course, every story and every school is different. Nevertheless, we make a small attempt to list some useful tips for you:
1 Please allow 4-5 years from start to finish. With courage and perseverance, the snail reaches the ark.
2 Find people on your team who share the same enthusiasm. Develop a vision. Follow the steps of Child and Society, Pimp your playground, MOS, etc.
3 Visit similar projects at home or abroad and steal with your eyes.
The management is a difficult hurdle. Try to get them on your side with a good idea, vision, plan, cake, …
4 Shoemaker stick to your last. Use the expertise of designers and study bureaus if you want to go all the way.
5 Find partners to reduce costs and address issues such as management in consultation.
6 Sometimes you stand with your shoes in the mud. Weigh the advantages against the disadvantages. Keep communicating.
7 For playgrounds, half-assed work is bad work. Too often, a poorly designed playground is charged with a little greenery and a little play incentive. This does not last and leads to frustration. Investing in sustainable materials and design will pay off more in the long run than it costs.
8 Don’t compromise on safety for children. An accident happens quickly. Have your playground inspected by playground safety experts right from the design phase.
9 The government should invest in the qualitative softening and greening of playgrounds. Schools cannot bear these high costs alone.
10 Children are the best ambassadors. Find a recruiting title for the project and get started with the kids. The adults will follow. A working group of parents and teachers specifically for the project certainly comes in handy. They create incredible momentum.
11 Make meeting times delicious and fun. We always provided cake and snacks and drinks. This created a nice atmosphere that kept people coming back.
12 Pamper the people who do the work. They are gold.
13 For us, a limited working group of teachers and principals (3 to 5 people) was the best way to coordinate from design to completion. Too many people around the table is not good either. Of course, check in regularly with constituencies.
14 A nature-rich play and learning landscape also creates a different kind of school. The impact of our new playground on how we work and teach as a school is totally reversed. Integrate this into the pedagogical policy. This is our new project.
15 Imagine the parents who are looking for a school for their toddler. They come to your school and see a fantastic, natural, playground. Difficult decision?
16 A green playground is never done.
17 Show guts. Don’t be afraid to beat the big drum. Send out a press release already. Invite ministers…