Schoolyard becomes play landscape

Schoolyard becomes play landscape

Noses pressed flat against the construction site fence? Children only staring at the playground? Perhaps pulling the fence posts apart and secretly creeping in to already try out the play area? The long wait finally came to an end on 7 March 2013. The playground at the Schillerschule in Öhringen was opened.

"It was simply wonderful to see how everything gradually fitted and belonged together. A playground made of wood, or rather only of natural materials, for having fun, climbing, testing your skills or simply hanging around. Super, marvellous genius," was the judgement of Maximilian, Fabian, Denisa and Alexander from class 3e in the Schillerschule pupils' very own newspaper.

In November 2012, the starting signal was given to redesign the schoolyard in cooperation with the Öhringen municipal works and the Stuttgart-based company KuKuk. This was preceded by numerous discussions with the city authorities, school management and KuKuk employees. Plans were drawn up, amended and revised. The question of costs and who would bear them was clarified and implemented via the company's own school budget. The school newspaper published regular reports. Everyone was really looking forward to the new play landscape.

"The Roman 'limes' (a fortified frontier), which is closely associated with the history of Öhringen in the north of Baden-Württemberg, was included in the plans for the design of the play area in the schoolyard of the all-day primary school. The colourful 'limes' – the steles of different colours – form the border of the yard area, while the 'watchtowers' are integrated into the movement landscape. A very wide variety of movement opportunities are available to the children. The tower, nest, box and climbing structure are connected with each other in many different ways, are inviting and constantly open up new ways of enjoying the climbing landscape. Hammock-like nets and a central sitting and lying area with wooden platforms tempt the children to linger and relax. Additionally, a green classroom has been created, with shade provided by awnings. The colours, which have been matched to those of the building, and the colourful Plexiglas panes in the towers, create a relationship with the schoolhouse itself," explains Robin Wagner, Managing Director of KuKuk GmbH.

Many heads and hands contributed to the success of a play landscape that offers many and varied possibilities for movement, is close to nature and child-friendly. Weather phenomena, such as snow, ice and freezing temperatures, were obstacles to a TÜV inspection and repeatedly led to the opening of the playground being postponed. But on the opening day, a first year grinned broadly and celebrated with wide-eyed wonder: "Simply cool – I won't ever want to go home". The pupils had to wait a really long time for this keenly anticipated day. Now movement as fun is the main thing, alongside chilling out.

 

Photography: KuKuk GmbH
 

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