Healthy School Status - Outdoor Playground Equipment Can Make the Difference

Any school that receives the Healthy School Award should be proud of its achievements. It shows that a policy has been put in place and followed in order to achieve outcomes that benefits staff and pupils. With this in mind, how can outdoor play equipment help to achieve a Healthy School Status?

There are four main areas that schools need to look at in order to receive the award and these are Personal, social and health education, healthy eating and physical activity and emotional health and wellbeing. Outdoor equipment plays an important part in the final two areas in the list.

Physical Activity

To meet the criteria for Physical Activity, policies will have to be created, implemented and monitored. The children will have to be given a number of opportunities to take part in physical activity while also understanding that it is part of their lives. It is also crucial that they understand how it can contribute towards a healthy lifestyle.

Outdoor play equipment will make it possible for the school to offer two hours of structured physical activity each week as well as getting the children to take part in extracurricular activities that also encourage physical activity.

Structured physical activity – making improvements

Structured activity can be assisted through a many different types of outdoor playground equipment. There are outdoor multi-gyms, basketball hoops, football goals, safe playground flooring, playground shades and school canopies all of which can help. This makes it even easier for schools to make it possible for pupils to take part in structured physical activity.

Extracurricular activity and encouraging participation

It can be difficult for schools to improve the way in which children participate in extracurricular activities. This is because teachers busy beyond the teaching hours plus children are not keen to stay later in school. Outdoor equipment will help to encourage children, which means that they can have access to it every day, particularly during break times. The secret to improving participation numbers is through installing equipment that pupils are keen to play with; this will then make it possible for schools to meet the relevant criteria.

Emotional Health and Wellbeing – Making Improvements

Certain playground equipment can make it possible to meet three different types of criteria that come under emotional health and wellbeing.

It makes it easier to create strategies that help to support vulnerable children while also generating an environment that is positive and improves emotional health and wellbeing. It can also boost confidence and self-esteem in pupils as they will have the opportunity to take part in activities.

Playground equipment is also beneficial to those who already suffer with mental health problems such as anxiety, depression as well as ADHD. All children benefit from improvements in their mood and cognitive alertness and so, it enhances their emotional health.

Another criteria met is the fact that playground equipment also offers an element of challenge. Children will be challenged to reach the end of their obstacle course or make sure they climb the equipment without falling off. These all contribute towards improved confidence and self-esteem while also getting involved in an activity that keeps them healthy and having fun.