The exciting journey of creating a new school playground is rarely taken alone. It typically includes collaborating with the school community, students and teachers and working with a range of ideas.
How do you best manage all this? How do you include people and their opinions yet still maintain a controlled and effective selection process?
Here are a few tips.
Clearly articulate the decision-making structure
From the outset, it’s important to ensure that all parties understand the decision-making process. The school principal is typically the key decision maker, however, sometimes it is the fundraising team or a playground committee. Whichever method your school chooses, ensure that structure and process is communicated clearly. This will help make decisions quickly and minimise the likelihood of conflicts.
Consider your decision-making criteria
Playgrounds can be large investments. Like all sizable investments, a variety of factors should be considered when making your final choice. Which of these factors are important to you?
- quality, reputation and experience of the supplier
- number and length of playground components
- supplier’s attention to detail to Standards compliance
- low maintenance and readily available spare parts
- developmental and learning opportunities
- age-appropriate playground design
- style and aesthetics of the playground
Decisions like this shouldn’t come down to a student majority vote, as this won’t necessarily get you the best outcome. For example, the outcome of a student vote may be swayed by the colour of one slide, rather than whether the playground meets your criteria.
Include students early in the process
We suggest that the final decision shouldn’t be made by students but by adults based on design and commercial considerations. A great way to include students and give them a sense of ownership is to include them when generating ideas.
Providing students with a playground company’s catalogue to create a wish list is a great starting point. It helps keep ideas focused and practical. Once their ideas have been gathered, relay them to the playground supplier to consider when creating the playground designs.
Never be afraid to convey seemly unachievable ideas to experienced and knowledgeable playground companies like adventure+ who can work with you to develop the ideas.
Maintain effective communication with all parties
Effective communication throughout the project is key. Remember to communicate early, communicate often and to everyone involved. Great communication helps people to feel like they’ve been heard, and it shows them how their ideas are reflected in the final design. When the project is underway, be exact in communicating the project’s specifics like timing, status, and decisions.
Choose a consultative playground partner
adventure+ have playground consultants all around Australia who work with schools to create playgrounds. Our consultants are happy to sit down with all stakeholders, especially students, to get an understanding of what everyone wants.
We work through playground designs with you and we are flexible with revisions to make sure you end up with a school playground that ticks all the boxes.
Don’t just take our word for it. Here’s what Phil from Drysdale Primary School had to say about us:
“Everyone in the company with whom I had contact was responsive, even when we changed our minds about fifteen times! The work was done very efficiently, on time and on budget.”
adventure+ are experts in designing, building and installing customised school playgrounds. To find out how we can assist with the needs of your school community, contact our team on 1300 237 587 or firstname.lastname@example.org today!