School canopies aren’t just for shade – they can also create new spaces in underutilised areas of the school ground. Many schools have outdoor learning space requirements that need to be met all year round and the installation of a canopy can help meet this requirement. Canopies can also make a big difference in terms of creating multifunctional areas that can be used by students throughout the day to extend dining provision, create social spaces and provide covered walkways.
There are a wide range of different canopies canopy for school playgrounds available to suit school requirements. Some are free standing while others can be built to be integrated into playground equipment such as swing sets and freestanding sculpted play elements. They can be positioned over one area of the playground or over several, and they can vary in size and shape to fit the needs of specific structures.
Some types of canopy include a steel or aluminium frame with polycarbonate or fabric roofing and side panels. This provides a durable structure for schools with a good level of wind resistance, although it is important to consider the local climate when choosing this type of solution. For example, if the school is located in El Paso, Texas, where high winds are common, it might be best to opt for a canopy that has a higher load capacity and a stronger wind rating, such as an 8 or 10 mph design.
It is also vital to choose a canopy that will be easy for school staff to maintain. If the structure is difficult to clean, it will quickly become a breeding ground for microorganisms like mildew and bacteria. This can affect the safety of students and visitors and may also lead to increased maintenance costs, so be sure to check that the canopy is built with materials that are easy to clean and will not degrade over time, such as foam and PVC.
Another factor to consider is the color of the canopy. While this might seem like a small detail, it can have a significant impact on the appearance of the playground and can influence student engagement. Bright colors are more stimulating and encourage children to interact with the environment, so it is worth taking the time to find a canopy that suits the aesthetic of the playground.
A canopy can also help to reduce the temperature in an area of the playground by up to 30 degrees and block out up to 90 percent of harmful UV rays. This will make the area cooler and safer for kids to play in, as well as extending the amount of time they can spend on the playground.
In the past, it was common for schools to have to limit outside activities due to weather conditions. However, increasing emphasis on student wellbeing and the need to maximise space for year-round use has highlighted a need to create outdoor spaces that are suitable for multiple uses. A canopy can create outdoor learning spaces for students and create social areas that can be utilised by the whole school community.