Kilcooley Primary School in Bangor is the latest school to receive PlayBoard’s Taking Outdoor Play Seriously (TOPS) Award.

The school received the prestigious award for their commitment to children’s learning and development through their dedication to improving their outdoor play provision. Despite the challenges and delays that Covid-19 brought, the staff and children remained positive and enthusiastic and their perseverance since the project began in 2019 led to the school receiving their award on 11 November 2021.

The hard work from staff with support from PlayBoard meant the school playground could be transformed, with new resources and zones added, such as chill-out, performance and construction zones. As well as notable changes to the physical environment, systems were developed to help embed play as an important part of the school day, as well as a framework for all staff to work from.

The benefits of these new play opportunities for the children is noticeable already with Play Coordinator, Jenna Lowry commenting on how children are now actively engaged in outdoor play opportunities, with less problems in the playground, and concentration in the classroom also benefitting. Importantly, the children of Kilcooley are enjoying a wide range of activities and are having lots of fun during their break and lunchtimes!

Shauneen McCusker, Play Development Officer at PlayBoard who worked with Kilcooley PS said, “Kilcooley PS were delayed in their TOPS journey as lockdown struck, however the school continued to engage with PlayBoard on reopening the school where they had to overcome many obstacles related to mitigating the pandemic and segregating children into class bubbles. While challenging, this did not deter Jenna as she was determined to get Kilcooley across the finish line and pick up the TOPS Award for her school. I wish to commend everyone for all their hard work in progressing outdoor play throughout Covid-19 and creating play spaces where the pupils now have great fun play opportunities every day; well done!”

Congratulations to Kilcooley Primary School on achieving the TOPS Award!

Hear from the children themselves and get a flavour of the exciting range of outdoor play opportunities available at the school in their video below.

TOPS logo