- Chamwell Centre Charity, associated with the school
Milestone is one of the largest special schools in the U.K. whose aim is to enable access to learning for children with severe learning difficulties or autism with additional challenges of complex medical and physical disabilities.
In 2017, Quattro was commissioned to provide an outdoor all-ability play area expressly to encourage exploration and discovery.
Many consultation meetings with the school’s play workers took place where the needs of shy as well as robust children’s play preferences were explained with an aim to providing nesting, hiding and perching opportunities whilst also being mindful of some children’s slower energies counterbalanced with livelier rates of progress.
Playtimes at the school are always supervised with a high staff to child ratio providing security and support for any child requiring empathetic help or physical assistance and it was felt that a small element of risk in some of the activities was acceptable in order to offer an outside space with appeal and capable of sparking feelings of elation.
Quattro set about to illustrate and develop the client’s brief in the forms of sketches and zoning diagrams striving to incorporate the many faceted aspirations.
In due course, a looped path connecting the separate activities evolved, allowing the children to arrive at the activities in a sequence if desired, or the choice remained of moving flexibly throughout. Every hub of play was sufficiently distanced from the next so that getting into a tangle risking bewilderment or disorientation would not occur.
Completed in 2018, the new play area bursts with colour engaging the children with a soft bamboo hiding area, a path through the trees where a wigwam is found and a wheelchair accessible tunnel and a bridge. A mud pit and water rill deliver tactile experiences, and springy rubber bumps can be crawled or jumped over for further sensory play. A low platform provides a place for creativity where sculptures are made from recycled scrap metal, or where children can perform.