BARMERA KINDERGARTEN - COMMUNITY BUILD STAGE 1 COMPLETED EARLY 2016
A large outdoor learning area in the Riverland required redesign to better reflect the sites pioneering ethos for play. Barmera was one of the first sites in South Australia to establish a bush kindy program.
The centre Director was keen to build upon these weekly visits to the bush and provide a play experience at the centre that could compliment this rich experience.
The current site had a number of natural assets on the periphery and a varied terrain that the children naturally gravitated towards but the core area closer to the building was proving less attractive.
PSLA in collaboration with Climbing Tree workshopped ideas with the children, staff, parents and carers. This developed a concept plan that was presented with opinion of costs.
The centre had a vision and was keen to create a community build approach. PSLA was on hand to provide design advice when required as the parents and staff set to work over the summer holidays to bring to reality some of the missing play ingredients. PSLA & Climbing Tree continues to assist the Centre and will be providing a new parent workshop in 2016 to get continued buy in on the staged nature play transition.
"I would like to thank and highly recommend Simon and Peter to work with any educational setting that is trying to make their dream of an interesting, challenging and stimulating outdoor learning environment. We wanted the children at Barmera Kindergarten to have similar learning experiences while they were at kindy those they had at Bush Kindy. We knew this wasn’t going to happen immediately due to the large size of our yard and we would have to complete it in stages, so we decided to contract PSLA & Climbing Tree, so we had a clear plan of the overall project that we could break down into achievable stages. Thanks to Simon and Peter this dream has started to become a reality. They ran two sessions with our children to find out what they liked about the current space and what they wanted in the new space, during this session all children were involved and highly engaged. Simon and Peter ran an evening session for our families, during this session they highlighted the importance of nature play and providing opportunities for children to challenge themselves. Parents then contributed what they would like to see in the new area.
When the plans came back the community and staff were extremely excited. Governing Council committed money from the budget to complete stage one during the 2015/16 Christmas holidays. This was a community build, the demolishing of our old area was undertaken by a number of parent volunteers. We had contractors complete the new build however local businesses were extremely supportive of this project. Although we did not contract PSLA & Climbing Tree to complete the construction stage, they were always willing and available to answer any questions we had along the way.
Three weeks into the new kindy year and the children are thriving in this new learning space. They are working collaboratively, they are using their imagination to turn open ended materials into props for dramatic play, they are challenging themselves at climbing and balancing. We still have a number of stages left until this project is complete but we now have a clear vision and can budget for these each year.
Thank you Simon and Peter for turning our dream into reality and inspiring our community to commit to natural play spaces"
Amy Hunt Director, Barmera Kindergarten