Playground equipment, layout and shade

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					Playground equipment, layout and shade
Description and Benefits

The playground is an essential part of any school, early childhood service and community park. Children spend many
hours of their day occupying themselves with what the playground has to offer. Schools, early childhood services and
playgrounds with well marked game activities and safe and inviting equipment provide increased motivation for
children to participate in physical activity and become engaged in purposeful play, and as a result, improve their
fundamental movement skills and reap the benefits of an active lifestyle (Sallis et al., 2001, Ridges et al., 2007,
Wechsler et al., 2000)

Research (Stratton, 2000, Ridges et al., 2007) supports the use of playground markings for improving students’
physical activity levels. One review of research literature cited in NSW Department of Education and Training (2005)
concluded that the use of playground markings can: increase children’s physical activity levels; increase children’s
energy expenditure; decrease bullying and playground confrontations; and decrease playground injuries.


To ensure continued opportunities for outdoor play during times when UV radiation is high, manmade or natural shade
should be provided (SunSmart, 2008). Outdoor areas within a school playground that are protected from sun invite
interaction and play (Tranter and Malone, 2004, Malone and Tranter, 2003).


School playgrounds with well marked game activities and safe and inviting equipment provide increased motivation for
children to participate in physical activity and become engaged in purposeful play, and as a result, improve their
fundamental movement skills and reap the benefits of an active lifestyle (Ridges et al., 2007, Sallis et al., 2001,
Wechsler et al., 2000)

Size and distribution of the problem

General data about physical activity (including available data for Gippsland) can be found at
http://www.dhs.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/275845/PhysicalActivity.pdf

Children's Participation in Cultural and Leisure Activities, ABS, 2006(ABS, 2006)

Rate of participation in organised sport, children aged 5-14
Males (Australia)= 68.9% Females (Australia) = 57.8%
Males (Victoria) = 69.2% Females (Victoria) = 62.9%

Child injury due to falls from playground equipment, Australia 2002–04
AIHW National Injury Surveillance Unit, Research Centre for Injury Studies. Flinders University. South
Australia

    •    12,091 cases of playground falls injury in the 0–14 years age group resulted in hospitalisation from July
         2002–June 2004 constituting 9.8% of all external cause injury cases for that age group

    •    Children aged 5–9 years were hospitalised at 3 times the rate of 0–4 year olds, and at four times the rate of
         10–14 year olds.

    •    Climbing apparatus were the mechanism of injury for 33% of hospitalised playground fall injuries, followed by
         trampolines (24.6%).

Children aged 5–9 years had the highest proportion of fractures, intracranial injuries, dislocations, and sprains and
strains (Helps and Pointer, 2006)

Leadership

    •    Schools (primary and secondary), Preschools, Childcare Centres staff and management including school
         councils.
    •    Local Government develop and maintain community playgrounds.

Suggested Partners, their roles and responsibilities

    •    Local government – provide support for adjacent areas to schools, public playgrounds, early childhood
         playgrounds when owned and managed by local government.
    •    Equipment suppliers – advice on safety and variety of equipment available
    •    Kids – ‘Go for your life’ – Playground equipment, layout and shade is a component of the Kids – ‘Go for your
         life’ Award program for Primary Schools under the criteria Turn Off, Switch to Play.




Last Updated: 25 June 2009                                                                                 Page 1 of 3
Resources for Implementation

Pip Budgen, et al. Creating active playgrounds in primary schools. Health Promotion Journal of Australia 2007;18:77-9
http://www.healthpromotion.org.au/members/journals/apr07/HPJA_2007_1_Budgen.pdf

Heart Foundation Victoria, Active by Design
http://www.heartfoundation.org.au/Professional_Information/Lifestyle_risk/Physical_Activity/Active_by_Design/Pages/
default.aspx

Kids – ‘Go for your life’ has evidence-based resources and professional development opportunities available to
members of its Health Professionals’ Network to support primary schools and early childhood services provide and
promote physical activity. Membership of this Network is free.
http://www.goforyourlife.vic.gov.au/hav/admin.nsf/Images/KGFYL_Health_Professionals_Oct07.pdf/$File/KGFYL_Healt
h_Professionals_Oct07.pdf

Kids – ‘Go for your life’ has comprehensive best-practice resources around providing and promoting physical activity
available to primary schools and early childhood services that are members of the Kids – ‘Go for your life’ Award
Program. Membership of this program is free.
Early Childhood:
http://www.goforyourlife.vic.gov.au/hav/articles.nsf/practitioners/Kids_Go_for_your_life_Award_Program_EC?Open
Primary School:
http://www.goforyourlife.vic.gov.au/hav/articles.nsf/practitioners/primary_schools?Open

Kids - 'Go For Your Life' Health Promotion Planning Tool is a resource identifying effective strategies to address healthy
eating, physical activity/active play, and overweight and obesity among children.
http://www.goforyourlife.vic.gov.au/hav/admin.nsf/Images/KGFYL_health_promotion_planning_tool.doc/$File/KGFYL_
health_promotion_planning_tool.doc

Wellbeing and Health Organisation Links for Education (WHOLE) - Health and Wellbeing Policy. This integrated policy
provides an example of combining all school health and wellbeing policies. http://www.goforyourlife.vic.gov.au/whole

Playgrounds and Recreation Association of Victoria http://www.prav.asn.au/index.html

Sunsmart Victoria http://www.sunsmart.com.au/

Kidsafe NSW, Playground Safety http://www.kidsafensw.org/playsafety/index.htm

Active playgrounds – it’s more than just good fun! NSW Department of Education and Training
http://www.curriculumsupport.education.nsw.gov.au/primary/pdhpe/assets/pdf/csarticles/activeground.pdf

British Heart Foundation, (2001). Active Playgrounds: A Guide for Primary Schools
http://www.bhf.org.uk/plugins/DocSearch/Download.aspx?sFile=9461579c-65a5-4bf4-9198-
99ba1bf9c095_1_0&sExt=.pdf.


Evaluation Tools

Methods for measurement of impacts such as levels of physical activity and the Active PASS tool that measures
multiple supports for physical activity in the physical environment, school policy and parent and community interaction
are described at http://www.dhs.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0011/275861/PhysicalActivity.pdf

To assess playground features:
    •    Kidsafe NSW Publications for purchase http://www.kidsafensw.org/playsafety/avalaible_publications.htm
    •    Playground Adequacy Checklist. Kidsafe NSW.
         http://www.kidsafensw.org/docs/AdequacyChecklistJune2007.pdf



References

ABS (2006) Children's Participation in cultural and leisure activities. Australian Bureau of Statistics.
http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/DetailsPage/4901.0Apr%202006?OpenDocument

Helps, Y. L. M. & Pointer, S. C. (2006) Child injury due to falls from playground equipment, Australia 2002-04.
Flinders University. http://www.rospa.com/playsafety/australia/info/child_injuries_0204.pdf

Malone, K. & Tranter, P. (2003) School grounds as sites for learning: Making the most of environmental opportunities.
Environmental Education Research, 9, 283-303.

NSW Department of Education and Training (2005) Curriculum Support for primary teachers: Active playgrounds - it’s
more than just good fun!
http://www.curriculumsupport.education.nsw.gov.au/primary/pdhpe/assets/pdf/csarticles/activeground.pdf


Last Updated: 25 June 2009                                                                                   Page 2 of 3
Ridges, N., Stratton, G., Fairclough, S. & Twisk, J. (2007) Long-term effects of playground markings and physical
structures on children's recess physical activity levels. Preventative Medicine, February 2007 ahead of print.

Sallis, J., Conway, T. L., Prochaska, J., McKenzie, T., Marshall, A. & Brown, M. (2001) The association of school
environments with youth physical activity. American Journal of Public Health, 91, 618-620.

Stratton, G. (2000) Promoting childrens physical activity in primary schools: An intervention study using playgrounds
markings. Ergonomics, 43, 1538-46.

SunSmart (2008) Why schools should be sunsmart. VICTORIA, C. C., Accessed on 31/10/08.
http://www.sunsmart.com.au/browse.asp?ContainerID=1544

Tranter, P. & Malone, K. (2004) Geographies of environmental learning: An exploration of children's use of school
grounds. Childrens Geographies, 2, 131-155.

Wechsler, H., Devereaux, R., Davis, M. & Collins, J. (2000) Using the school environment to promote physical activity
and healthy eating. Preventative Medicine, 31, s121-s137. www.sciencedirect.com.ezproxy.lib.monash.edu/science?




Last Updated: 25 June 2009                                                                                  Page 3 of 3

				
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