Whether we realise it or not, line markings are vital in our day-to-day lives for all sorts of reasons. Whether it’s showing us where to park our car or aiding us in navigating the road, they are an essential service that often escapes our notice.
However, one place where line markings are especially ubiquitous is in schools. Whether it be traditional road markings to ensure children’s safety, the countless types of playground markings to entertain them during their breaks, or even markings for social distancing, line markings are an integral part of the school environment.
Line Markings for Safety
The school gates are a particularly hazardous area for pedestrians, as they are often crowded with parents and children alike. This, combined with excess traffic during the school run can make it all too easy for accidents to happen when families are crossing the road. Line markings are an essential tool in keeping both parents and children as safe as possible during the school run.
Pedestrian crossings are one crucial example of line markings that parents will be very familiar with. In fact, in some areas around the country, parent groups have petitioned councils to provide such crossings outside their local schools.
But these are not the only line markings crucial to the safety of children. Signs such as capitalised SLOW signs written in white, or as KEEP CLEAR signs in yellow provide motorists with a visual cue that they are entering a school zone. Kept visible and in good condition, adequate markings are one of the ways in which the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents recommends we are able to reduce the risk of accidents outside of schools.
Line Markings for Exercise
Movement and exercise is vital to children’s growth and development as well as ensuring they stay fit and healthy. Of course, most children across the country will be required to attend some sort of physical activity at school and when it comes to younger children, the challenge is often keeping them still, not encouraging more movement.
But for older children who have progressed past the need for a game of tag, line markings are the simplest form of fun there is. Just marking out a court on a playground can ensure hours of fun and can be utilised for both break times and P.E lessons alike. Playground markings provide an easy and accessible way for children to get involved with sports without the need for an expensive court or sports hall.
Alternatively, for younger children, line markings – such as hopscotch and other playground games – can be marked out on the playground to encourage active play. While they may still be an investment and require upkeep, line playground markings are extremely easy to apply and are a safe, simple way for children to play.
Markings for Play
Playtime is not just a time for children to run around and improve their health, however. The playground and playtime itself is an extension of the classroom environment and is vital to improving a child’s social skills.
While some playground games can be played alone, most, including court markings, will need to be used with others. They encourage children to learn and work together in a way that is independent of adult interference and provide ample opportunities for them to make friends.
The educational benefits to games and markings like these also cannot be overstated. Younger children will enjoy the benefits of bringing Mathematics and English into their playtime with number-based games, or developing their imaginations by creating their own games and ideas. These markings serve to educate and entertain children in a wide variety of ways and are a huge part of the school and playground experience.
Being Social From a Distance
One of the most important examples of line markings that we are seeing in schools all across the country are social distancing markers. These kinds of markings are, of course, not designed to be permanent, but will be familiar to most of us from other public spaces such as shops.
They are not thermoplastic markings in the way playground markings are, rather they are temporary stickers that are designed to create one way systems and provide visual cues as to where pupils should stand in order to maintain appropriate social distance. These markings can come in the form of wall stickers and signs, or literal line markings stuck to the floor. These may be found in dinner halls, on the playground or in classrooms to indicate spaces for children to stand or sit during class and free time.
The current government mandate states that social distancing where possible is one of the key preventative measures for schools to be able to operate safely. It can be difficult for even adults to gauge the appropriate distance most of the time and so for young, excitable children, these markings are essential to the safety of both the students and the teachers. And while they may not be a permanent fixture like a pedestrian crossing or a basketball court, it’s unlikely we’ll see them disappear from school grounds any time soon.
Whether it’s standing on the corner of the road waiting for the lollipop lady to help students cross the street, or taking part in a spontaneous game of snakes and ladders drawn on the school playground, it’s hard to imagine a school without some sort of line markings, even if they go unnoticed. And while many of us are excited to for the day when social distancing markers are no longer necessary, with their safety benefits and ability to foster all sorts of social interaction, traditional line markings at the very least won’t be disappearing from schools anytime soon