Nature + Play together have historically shaped childhood development; it is only in our lifetime that they have become separated, hanging together by a thin thread of nostalgia
― Peter Semple, Project Wild Thing Premiere SA 2014
The nature play movement has taken great leaps in recent years in promoting the positive impact of getting our children outside in nature. This message is supported by a stream of beneficial research originating from experts in the fields of health, education, environment and social planning.
This has stimulated grass root support that is beginning to influence government and policy makers into action. With considered and applied best practise the movement now has the very real potential to change course the negative predictions, that are facing this and future generations.
PSLA sees itself at the forefront of creating best practise in designing and implementing playspaces and outdoor learning environments that can make a difference in childhood development and wellbeing.
Nature Play in its purist form is unstructured, open ended and self-directed, allowing for freedom to roam seeking adventure and exploration. This is the catalyst to use of the imagination and creativity unhindered by time or judgement.
Nature play awakens our survival instincts and stimulates all of our senses. It instils calm and curiosity. It creates empathetic connections to the natural world and also to each other; forming enduring relations.
It challenges us physically, sensory and emotionally providing us with a sense of mastery and also equally important resilience.
Nature Play at its heart provides us with the skills required for the days and years ahead.
Peter’s passion for nature play is born from personal experiences from his own childhood, this has awakened a sense of duty trough his profession to give children the opportunities to play freely in adventurous and challenging natural environments.
His own freedom to roam as a child was blessed by mountains, sea and rivers. This contrasts dramatically with the constrained suburban landscape his children now currently experience.
Peters skill set is ideally suited to this field of work. He process a deep understanding of the significance of play in childhood development; combined with an extensive knowledge of playspace and environmental design.
Peter has established and abides by a set of tried and tested design principles. Which are set out below:
10 principles of Nature Play Design
1. Sense of place
2. Children’s voice
3. Sensory experiences
4. Landform and natural features
5. Greening the playspace
6. Sustainable design
7. Embrace risky play
8. Incorporate multiple playstyles
9. Integrate with the wider landscape
10. Comfort and accessibility
These principles are the building blocks to providing a solid foundation for creating a playspace and learning environment that provides developmental benefits and a place that instils a sense of belonging and community.
PSLA also facilities interactive workshops with communities and children as part of the consultation and engagement process to nature play planning. An important step in creating ownership and a design that reflects local aspirations for play and learning.
We are collaborators working together with others to ensure a project vision is realised. We work with other recognised leaders and nature play champions including outdoor educators, artists, architects, childhood educators etc.
PSLA look to tailor design and consultation involvement to reflect each site and its goals and objective; either short or long term. We are experts at creating feasible solutions for all budgets.