The major problem facing Lawrence Price, head teacher of Keys Meadows Primary School, in Enfield, is that the nine-piece kit has, if anything, proved a little too popular with the 300 youngsters making a beeline for it during trials at the school!
“The children enjoy it very much. We’re still in the experimental stage, it’s still got a newness to it, and because so many of the children want to play on it we’ve had to restrict it to one class per day for now,” said Mr Price. “We’re hoping that once things settle down it will be viewed as one of the different zones in our playground, and then we’ll see how children of different ages play together.”
“We had a few teething problems – one or two of our children can be quite challenging, and we had to remind of them of one or two of our rules, including the simple rule ‘Be gentle’,” says Mr Price.
“A few of them were getting carried away when playing ‘King of the Castle!’” “Since then it’s worked well, and I like the fact that there’s no set way in which the kit has to be used.
The children can use their imagination to make large structures, dens, obstacles and vehicles. “They can be quite active – it’s very physical equipment, there’s a lot of balancing, and a lot of co-operating. It’s not something you would tend to use alone – I’ve never seen anyone playing on it alone, there are always two or more, so it’s quite a sociable experience.“There are no limits – it can challenge youngsters, and I like that sort of play structure. Fixed apparatus has its place, but if it’s a boat, it’s a boat, and there aren’t so many things you can do with it.
“Snug teaches children about citizenship. They can learn to socialise, support each other, co-operate, take turns, negotiate, and even come through arguments!” At Keys Meadow Snug complements an established variety of different zones including a multi-use games area, a performance area with amphitheatre, a quiet zone, and a movement area featuring climbing frames and balancing equipment. Snug can play a valuable role in encouraging youngsters to enjoy healthy exercise, but Mr Price believes its potential extends beyond physical exercise.
“I can see potential for Snug being used at social times, playtimes, lunchtimes but also curriculum times. The obvious is PE and movement activity, but Snug also has great potential for language development – speaking and listening, drama activity, and story telling,” he said. “Snug can easily spark children’s imaginations – it can be set up to provide a background for story telling, or as a landscape for drama.”
“What surprises me more than anything is that although it isn’t obvious what all the things are, the children didn’t ask – they just got on with it. You can move it, you can change it, you can interlink it – there are endless possibilities. I can’t see a limit to what teachers and children can get out of Snug.”