Physical Not Virtual

Posted on 2nd November 2021

Physical Not Virtual

The closure of schools due to Covid has had a psychological impact on children. The crisis has highlighted many socio economic issues regarding home learning. The return to school has emphasised that not only does school fulfill an educational need but also the social and physical aspects of life for young people.

Children have been missing a physical space in which to share time, thoughts and emotions. School provides many things but importantly it also allows for a connection, a structured setting in which children can learn and develop amongst their peers. A space to grow in self confidence, friendships, and participate in a safe social setting. 

Teachers can promote healthy habits that may not be prevalent at home, they can encourage physical activity where parents may not.

The playground becomes the stage for story telling, role play, educational games and dance. Break time is an unstructured moment in the day that provides a space for these important developments. Key skills are foundational for mental well being and learning successfully. 

Playtime must be meaningful and inclusive. After months of isolation and uncertainty the school playground is the safe space to reconnect. Social connections, at any age are fostered through play, and leisure activities. Being part of a group or team is vital for a sense of balance and inclusion.

70% of mental disorders begin in childhood and it is important that schools take steps to mitigate the health effects of the pandemic that seems to be ongoing. For children that live in high poverty areas and high density urban living, school break time may be the only opportunity for outdoor play.

“When imaginatively developed, school grounds can contribute to curriculum teaching and learning, and to better recreational and social interaction of their pupils. As well as contributing strongly to children’s understanding of ‘green’ issues, they can make a positive impact on the sustainability of the schools and their locality. They can also encourage children to take part in a range of physical activities, which contribute so much to their health and well-being” 

Jim Knight, Minister of State for Schools and 14-19 Learners 

Department for Education and Skills

Historically school play areas have been bottom of the consideration pile with regards to school budgets. The last aspect of the school to be funded and designed. The return to school post covid gives us the opportunity to re-look at our schooling priorities. Physical activity as we are all aware has a positive effect on all aspects of our health. Modern lifestyles mean that our children are far from getting the recommended ‘hour a day’. So surely this is now essential.

By selecting the appropriate playground equipment each school can facilitate the required physical needs but also nurture pupil participation. Allowing pupils to be more active in the short term will help to develop healthier lifestyles in the long term. 

Creative playground equipment is designed to encourage natural child-led play which is essential to development. A correctly designed environment offers numerous advantages that help child expansion in many ways.

All physical play allows children to burn their excess energy, activity equipment helps children develop their motor skills and challenges their ways of moving around a space. Gross motor skills require the whole body to move, improve muscle strength, balance, resilience, endurance and coordination. All essential to a growing child.

School play equipment is the perfect way to engage children whilst allowing them to utilise a huge range of vital skills. Balance, strength, climbing, stretching to name a few. Children should be active and interactive within each landscape. Outdoor play needs to encompass two vital things, the excitement factor which brings challenge and risk and the imaginative factor where the outdoors can provide endless opportunities to engage children’s minds in healthy ways. 

This pandemic provides us with an opportunity to rethink and redesign the way we support our children’s social opportunities for informal play and recreation in school.

AMV Playgrounds offer many bespoke multi sensory play options that can be installed and designed for our precious outdoor spaces. The Trim Trail Range is manufactured in AMV’s workshop here in the UK. The rounded posts are galvanised and powder coated to offer a low maintenance hygienic surface that can be sanitised and wiped down after play. Each well designed item can be installed together and combined into countless configurations. Each course can create an imaginative agility environment to suit the ages of each user. 

Together as part of the Bailey Street Furniture Group we offer the combination of innovative design, clever solutions and smart technologies for all our schooling needs. BSFG believes that investing in well designed sustainable educational spaces is vitally important, our immediate surroundings and environment benefit our quality of life and promote a healthier future that we all so depend upon.

Using world class design teams and utilising environmentally sustainable materials in conjunction with leading edge technology, Bailey Street Furniture Group creates inspiring integrated urban furniture with our future needs in mind.

For more information on BSFG please contact their team on 01625 322 888 or email To view the company’s wide range of high quality street furniture visit their website

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