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How a Canopy Can Help at SEN Schools Creating a covered outside area within SEN school grounds is

considered an important factor because calm and relaxing outdoor environments have proven to be particularly helpful in developing the social and physical abilities of students with disabilities and complex emotional needs Here are our ideas to help your students get the most out of your canopy and outdoor area.

Rewarding outdoor play…

Potted plants and vegetables can be kept under your canopy - especially during colder months. You can also create a potting area for when you plant new flowers - doing this under the canopy ensures your students are protected from the sun and rain.

Hutches for small animals can also be stored under the canopy to give them a more sheltered place to live. These activities will give your students a sense of pride and they will flourish and build confidence as they see the seeds they planted grow and the animals they care for live healthy lives.

Create a relaxed atmosphere…

Add comfortable seating under your canopy where children can relax and enjoy the outdoors. In this calm environment you may find children open up more due to the more informal setting.

Exploring different senses…

The outdoor world hosts incredible possibilities for sensory stimulus with a wide range of different feels, smells, sounds, shapes and colours from the natural environment and surrounding architecture. You could even set up a sensory area underneath your canopy which features wind chimes, and potted grasses and plants which will rustle in the wind, scented plants and flowers and various natural materials to touch and experience. Your students may also enjoy sitting under the

Enjoy outdoor play all year round…

All of these stimulating activities can be experienced under a canopy during both the hot, sunny weather and the cold, rainy weather keeping your students sheltered and with each season comes a new smell, sound, colour and texture making each season an exciting new experience.

Ashburnham School Children’s Centre, London

Ashburnham School Children’s Centre created a covered outdoor play area (left) to offer their children freedom and independency at their centre in the London Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

The canopy provides cover for an important den area where children can go if they feel it is getting too busy or noisy indoors for them; garden activities are also held under the canopy, as well as independent play activities. The children were delighted with the new area and parents commented how the addition of a canopy enhanced the building.

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