Paces is a specialist centre in Sheffield for children and young adults with cerebral palsy and other motor disorders. The school meets the physical and cognitive needs of children which are often not met holistically elsewhere.
Paces School currently supports 40 children every year and had no accessible outdoor play area on school grounds. The school's long-term goal has been to develop a sensory play area that encourages all children to play and have fun together.
Costing £25,000, the project has been in development for three years with the views of children of all abilities, their parents and community groups from across the area central to the plans. Charities, businesses and organisations from around the UK and Sheffield provided funding for the project.
The public was asked what they would like to see in the play area and the overwhelming response was for a play space that felt happy, relaxed, inclusive and welcoming to both children and parents with activities that were fun, interactive, sociable and stimulating.
- Increase children’s confidence
- Improve social and communication skills
- Increase flexibility and fine and gross motor skills helping Paces school children to control balance and develop co-ordination skills
- Help increase longer term independence
- Increase physical activity for all children
- Encourage children of all abilities to play and have fun together (helping to break perceived barriers of disability)
- Encourage the involvement of parents and families in their children’s play
Products and services provided
Jupiter Play worked alongside Paces Sheffield to create the best design that would aid the needs of all the children.
- Steel Wave Swing
- Infinity Bowl
- Rainbow Beat
- Music Xylophone Box
- Wheelspin (coming soon)
Sensory play area and the public
During school hours the pupils at Paces School will primarily enjoy the inclusive play area, but it will also be available to children from other providers of children’s services on Paces Campus and local community groups. The aim of the project is to encourage both non-disabled children and children with physical, cognitive and sensory impairments to play and have fun together.
The inclusive sensory play area opened on Monday 11th September 2017.
The children can now enjoy a wide range of products which ignite all their sensors and can help them learn and develop in a fun and meaningful manner.
Overall, the parents and staff are overwhelmed by what has been achieved at the school. Physical activity is essential in ensuring continued mobility in Paces pupils with cerebral palsy. It is a central element in the physical educational programmes. Parents explain that having this opportunity to explore the play area will help their children achieve greatly increased physical function, such as sitting upright, walking and simple hand movements.