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It's playtime!

Submitted by Education on Tue, 14/02/2017 - 16:31

How do we play? How do we learn? What happens when we blur the line between the two? Last month, three schools were the first to host and experience PlayGround – an interactive wooden toolkit and workshop to encourage play, collaboration and learning.

PlayGround was developed over one year in an exciting collaboration between Bow Arts Learning and TAAT, a Dutch architecture and theatre collective. The organisations participated in Tandem Europe, an international cultural managers exchange.  

PlayGround encourages team working, communication and decision-making across a range of age groups through learning by doing and building together. The three pilot schools were Manorfield Primary, Stebon Primary and Sarah Bonnell Secondary School.

Following a set of instructions, students and staff from the schools worked together to construct their own ‘playground’.  The groups then reflected on the structures they made, discussing the decisions they had made as well as their experience of the process. 

It didn’t feel like a lesson!


It was overwhelmingly positive for a pilot project. No one felt lost, but no one felt that they already knew it.

John Mason, Artist in Residence, Manorfield Primary School

After the workshops, the schools used their ‘playgrounds’ in different ways. Students from Stebon School sketched the structure, while reception children from Manorfield School contributed to it by adding or taking away pieces.

Following the success of the pilots, the value of PlayGround to support cross-curricular learning and collaborative working is clear. We are excited to explore the potential of the project further!

I really enjoyed the workshop. It made me think a lot about how directive play can be, and how we can communicate through actions.


PlayGround forms part of #10Experiments which is a series of interventions to try out new approaches and develop Bow Arts Learning programme.

If you are interested in using the PlayGround toolkit at your school or to find out more, please contact