Designing Playgrounds for Special Schools

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POSTED ON: Thursday, 30 Apr 2015

A lot of thought goes into the design of our playground installations, and this is particularly apparent when working with special schools.

This “Theraplay” play area, was purpose built to meet the specific emotional, sensory and physical needs of students with intellectual disabilities.  The design of the space was carefully planned by a team of educators, parents and occupational therapists based on current research.  Jumping, swinging and bouncing equipment, an interactive panel and a calming “squeeze machine” were key elements requested in the design brief.

Here is the finished project!

playground - maze module

This maze module was custom designed to suit the specific needs of the project.  It features a mirror panel, crawl tube, port hole panels and “calming” squeeze panels.

spinning flowers
uneven bars

The spinning flowers add colour, movement and interest.   The multibars can be used with thera-bands, allowing the kids to partake in upper body exercises.

swing set

The swing module features pigtail attachments which allow different to equipment to be easily interchanged.  The nest swing, featured left, provides a unique sensory experience.

bed of beads
super shooter

The “bed of beads” (left) supports students with  neurological processing disorders by providing deep pressure input which assists with mood regulation, motor planning and processing.  The super shooter (right) gives students a chance to practice their hand/eye coordination skills.

Our internal design team and engineers worked closely with the school to ensure that the project accommodated the client’s specific needs whilst also meeting regulation standards.  The blue and green synthetic grass and security fencing was also included in the project scope.

The play space is used all day, every day with students identified as requiring additional support to conditions such as manage anxiety and hyper arousal. It is a fantastic resource and perfect for our needs.

Tania ~ Assistant Principal at a Victorian special school


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    Our work speaks for itself
    Don't take our word for it, let our clients do the talking...

    We are so thrilled that a_space did our school playground. Blackheath School P&C raised enough money to put in play equipment and a_space were really thoughtful and sensitive to our budget. The design, landscaping, project management and installation team were completely professional and approachable through every stage of the process. The children at Blackheath Public School are absolutely thrilled with their new equipment – the teachers can’t keep them off it.

    Jody Lee

    “This project was excellent, ran smoothly, was well coordinated and completed ahead of schedule. A new rubber surface, some new equipment and shade installation has given this playground a great face lift and an extended life”

    Paul Hofman, Liverpool City Council NSW
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    Fun and innovative play activities from the ground to the top level.