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Reflections Magazine : Issue 50
9 REFLECTIONS • GOWRIE AUSTRALIA • AUTUMN 2013 - ISSUE 50 Author: Kate Fraser, Program Manager Playground Advisory Unit, Kidsafe NSW Once again Kidsafe has found best practice playspaces where community involvement, input from allied professionals, and consultation with children, have resulted in spaces that inspire children and encourage them to engage in healthy play. Over 55 entries were received from across Australia, demonstrating what can be achieved in children's services, schools and public playspaces. A multi-disciplinary panel of experts from Kidsafe, children's services, education, engineering, injury prevention, design and local government judged entries. The judging criteria included quality, safety, fun factor and evidence that the design process had engaged children and the community. The judges commented on the outstanding quality of the 2012 entries and reported that the high standard of playspaces developed right around the nation was very impressive. A smoking ceremony conducted in the yarning circle on the opening day of the playspace AWARD WINNING PLAYSPACES WITHIN EDUCATION AND CARE SERVICES WINNER What the judges said.... • The strong references to the local indigenous community in this multipurpose playspace reflect a commitment to cultural recognition and understanding; • The use of open ended, natural materials is commended; • This playspace offers leadership to others engaged in journeys of reconciliation with indigenous communities. The three successful entries for the category of Children's Services are as follows: WINNER Bubup Wilam Centre for Early Learning, Thomastown, Victoria Entered by: Urban Initiatives Pty Ltd A key element of this purpose built Aboriginal Child and Family Centre (with licensed education and care service) was the large amount of community consultation conducted with the Aboriginal Community, the City of Whittlesea Council and the Board of the Centre. As a result, the playspace incorporates a 'yarning circle', a fire pit for events and gatherings, and paving in the colours of the Aboriginal flag. The indigenous language group names are inlaid into the entrance path in geographical order reflecting their location in Victoria. Indigenous bush tucker plants have been used throughout the landscape and a diverse range of natural play elements are available to the children, including a creek and water pump (fed from water tanks), sand pits, digging patch, and timber post maze. Unfortunately, due to extreme weather conditions, the planting has suffered, however, the children and staff of the centre are nurturing and re-establishing the garden beds. This has added to their experience of involvement with the care of the natural elements and the outdoor learning environment. The playspace in action Timber post maze
Reflections Magazine Issue 51