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Reflections Magazine : Issue 50
10 HIGHLY COMMENDED Inaburra Preschool, Bangor, NSW Entered by: Inaburra Preschool Inaburra Preschool embarked on a journey to transform their playground to a haven of natural play elements and fun. In order to ensure the design would benefit children with additional needs a group of occupational therapists were consulted during the planning process. As a result, a tunnel slide was retained and reused, acknowledging its value for children with particular sensory needs. The children's play environment was designed and constructed to encourage risk taking, open-ended interactions and to develop a connection with nature. Natural elements such as textured pathways (bark chip, stone set, sandstone, and decomposed granite) and flowing water through the sandpit allow children to enjoy a wide variety of sensory experiences. Children are invited to climb along the rocks in the dry creek bed, feel the bark under their feet as they climb trees, or hide in the tepee. Vegetable gardens provide valuable sensory experiences as the children dig, plant, water, smell, taste and harvest a variety of herbs and vegetables. Where previously the playspace was used mostly for children to run around, it is now a place where as much learning occurs as indoors. Perhaps the most encouraging thing for educators is watching the way the children have taken ownership of their new environment and their involvement in assisting with care of the plants and the playspace. What the judges said.... • The unique potential of a sloping topography has been realised with the installation of activities upon the embankment; • The introduction of natural features has made a dramatic difference to the playspace; • A wonderful place for children to play and for adults to work. Highly Commended - Inaburra Preschool, Bangor, NSW Acknowledgement: Tessa Rose Playspace and Landscape Design/JM Landscapes
Reflections Magazine Issue 51