School Design Considerations

School Design Considerations

SafePlay Systems has been supplying FORPARK AUSTRALIA play equipment and outdoor furniture to schools across Victoria since 1993. Our consultants can design playgrounds suitable for junior, middle or upper primary students, or any combination of these age groups. A range of activities aimed at developing gross motor skills and increasing upper body and lower body strength are utilised. Fitness Track items will also provide additional opportunities to assist in developing children's physical skills.

Play and recreation are a vital component in child development. A well-planned outdoor play area not only provides a great place to play but also encourages social interaction, creativity and physical skills development. We need to provide as many play opportunities as we can for all children.

Because students have a range of interests and abilities they may play in different ways at different times. Ideally, a range of play areas for both boys and girls of different ages should be provided.

Children should be encouraged to participate in play activities that are both stimulating and challenging within a safe environment. Play activities that aid in developing children's upper and lower body strength, cross patterning skills, balance and general coordination as well as imaginative play can be easily incorporated in most playground designs.

A well-planned play area can be effective in motivating the children to actively participate in outdoor play - because it's fun.

Key issues to consider when planning a school playground include:

  • Available area
  • Budget
  • Age group
  • Safety Under-surfacing
  • Fall Zone - generally minimum distance of 2.5m
  • Maintenance
  • Australian Standards
  • Department of Education Guidelines*
  • Shade
  • Student/teacher/parent consultation.

We can assist you in all of these areas when assessing a school's playground requirements.

SafePlay understand that school playgrounds are important. We have the knowledge and experience to design play areas to suit the children's age and physical development and to fit in to schools budget and landscape requirements. SafePlay offer a free design service and with our sound knowledge of Australian Standards and education department guidelines, we ensure that school playground equipment is adventurous and challenging, yet safe, practical, functional and fun.


Department of Education and Early Childhood Development requirements

Fall zones

“The distance from any part of equipment to any hard surface (borders, paths, tree trunks or adjacent equipment) is referred to as the ‘fall-zone’ and should generally be a minimum of 2.5 metres” – Department of Education and Early Childhood Development 2012, (Section 3.6)

Play Equipment not approved  (Section 5.2)

The following play items are not approved for use in school playgrounds:

    Swings of any kind, including:

  • single seats, multiple seats, plank seats or platform seats

  • trapeze bars or rings

  • unrestrained tyres moving in a pendulum motion

  • log swings (note: specialist schools may seek the approval of the appropriate regional director for the use of swings)

  • see-saws, including items that are supported on a central pivot, springs or rubber e.g. scales, spring see-saws or spring riders

  • flying foxes, including items on cables or ropes. This does not include track glides using a fixed horizontal track, which are acceptable

    Rotating apparatus with a vertical axis, including:

  • merry-go-rounds and joy wheels

  • maypoles (with seats, ropes or handgrips)

  • roundabouts

  • roller slides, including slides where the student descends on the upper surface of a number of parallel rollers

  • climbing poles (free standing) with protruding rungs e.g. totem poles.

Most importantly, a school playground should be effective in motivating children to actively participate in outdoor play – because it's fun.

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