EDWARDSTOWN MEMORIAL OVAL PLAYSPACE - COMPLETED LATE 2015
Peter whilst working in local council prior to establishing PSLA provided the opportunity to apply his nature play principles into the public realm. Edwardstown Oval Memorial Playspace provides an imaginative play experience at a neighbourhood reserve. The existing topography and natural assets informed the thoughtful design. The design used the sites unique undulations to inform the theme of Snakes & Ladders. The project from the outset looked to work with local artists to develop a unique play experience that also made the place comfortable for parents and carers to extend the play duration.
The Edwardstown Playspace was awarded the Parks & Leisure Playground Award for SA for a project under $500,000 in 2016.
The suite of nature play principles applied include:
Sense of Place – Children’s subconscious connection and wonder for the natural world informed the playful narrative of snakes and ladders. Council engaged an artist team to develop an 8m long ferrocrete mosaic friendly snake that was intentionally interactive affording sitting, balancing, jumping and imaginary play. A timber artist was also engaged to develop custom play elements and feature monolithic log seats using salvaged sustainably sourced hardwood. Hidden treasures including cast iron frog and lizards where hidden in places that only inquisitive children could discover.
Greening the Playspace – The retention of trees provided instant maturity to the space and provided experiences for environmental education including loose parts, sensory experiences and biodiversity. Native plants were selected to support butterfly and lizard habitats as well as sensory and loose parts play.
Embrace Risky Play – Councils illustrated a clear understanding of the importance of incorporating risky play to aid childhood development. The playspace contains acceptable risks and graduated challenges tailored for appropriate ages. Peter communicated with council’s level 3 playground certifier during the design process to ensure deviations or play elements not clearly defined in the Australian Standards was discussed and deemed acceptable as a risk benefit.
Incorporate multiple play styles – A diversity of play opportunities has been provided. In addition to gross motor and vestibular development a strategic decision was taken to provide imaginative & creative play opportunities including experimentation with sound, sand and water.
Comfort and accessibility – Peter wanted to ensure that parents and carers were provided a place that would support a longer duration of visit by providing shade, ease of access i.e. parking for pram, trikes and wheelchairs and a diversity of seating opportunities both formal and informal. The success of any playspace is evident by the community’s response. Through social media online family forums have provided positive reviews on the Edwardstown Memorial Oval Playspace.
Read the social media review below from Kids in Adelaide