After Photo credit: Jason Tyndall photography
PARADISE EARLY LEARNING CENTRE - COMPLETED LATE 2015
An entire makeover was required to dramatically change a sea of rubber into a nature playspace. The project site was divided into three stages to ensure children had continuous access to the outdoors as works occurred. All 3 stages were completed in late 2015.
The existing outdoor space was devoid of natural assets and play value, with the setting dominated by a flat terrain of rubber. PSLA in collaboration with project lead Simon Hutchinson from Climbing Tree further developed a provided concept plan and created construction drawings that met safety standards, budget, and clients expectations.
The process embodied the core principles of nature play design and has resulted in a rich landscape for learning incorporating challenging surfaces of rocks and logs. Tangible play experiences were provided that can be manipulated by the children’s desires. Quiet spaces that were so lacking in the previous environment were provided, providing opportunities for quiet and small group play. Environmental education and food production is supported by a communal kitchen garden featuring the ever friendly chicken coop.
The centre took a bold step to maximise space and peer to peer interaction by pulling down the fence that separated the kindy kids from the toddlers. This has proven a great success as children at an early age can fully observe and become involved with the older children advancing their learning. The older children are also partaking in a more inclusive and shared play experience providing a setting for empathy and collaboration.
The dramatic transformation challenged not only the children but also the teachers, parents and carers. The consultant team supported the centres community in transition through information sessions and parents tour. These sessions proved successful in advocating for the benefit of these learning spaces and developing a culture of outdoor learning and play in nature.