We plan to bring you regular highlights from our Pinterest boards, which are kept active by a team of ‘virtual volunteers’ in the USA and Ghana. We have our partners Friends of Mmofra to thank for recruiting and managing student ‘pinners’ on our behalf!

Pinned to: Seating and Shade Structures

Our last Pin of the Week was from Lusaka, Zambia. For our latest we’ve selected a picture from Brighton, some 7,000 miles away in Britain.
They’re very different posts from very different places, but both reflect ideas and principles we want to bring to Playtime in Africa.
The picture shows an outdoor space at Longhill High School. Its winding, colorful seating structure was developed by students in collaboration with artist David Parfitt, who describes the project on his website:

“The need for such an item was identified through design workshops with students, who went on to collaborate with the concept, design and build of the structure. … Where possible, recycled polyethylene was used.”

It ticks a lot of boxes that we like: community-level design, sustainable materials, and bags of visual and physical interest.

  • Community design: When we began our planning work for Playtime in Africa last summer, we did it right here in Dzorwulu. Folks of all ages got involved, including young people who represent the project’s end users.
  • Sustainable materials: This summer we’ll be launching a drive for reclaimed wood. It could be a felled tree on your land or a bookcase you no longer want – if you’re in Accra and have something you think we could use, drop us an email.
  • Visual and physical interest: We’re not planning a bare yard and a basic classroom. PiA is about sensory experiences and exploratory play. We want a multi-level environment filled with color and texture.

It is easy to forget how stimulating a varied outdoor environment is to a curious child. We really like the approach of our supporter Chris Berthelsen, who documents exactly that in his booklet ‘Tokyo at Child Scale’:

As well as checking out the rest of our ‘seating and shade’ Pinterest wall, take some time to explore the gallery of unusual learning spaces that this week’s pin originally came from. It’s packed with ideas, from a brainstorm room with blackboard walls to a gorgeous tree mural for an outdoor teaching environment.