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Reflections Magazine : Issue 50
11 REFLECTIONS • GOWRIE AUSTRALIA • AUTUMN 2013 - ISSUE 50 HIGHLY COMMENDED St Linus' Anglican Kindergarten Playspace and Community Gathering Space, Merlynston, Victoria Entered by: St Linus' Anglican Kindergarten St Linus Anglican Kindergarten identified their outdoor learning environment as needing an update. Consultation with the kindergarten community highlighted the need and desire for sustainable use of materials and the provision of 'natural' play opportunities. Merlynston Creek is a significant natural feature within the local area and therefore considered an important theme for the playspace design. The use of landscape materials reflected the creek and indigenous plants. Two colourful chainsaw carved frogs highlight the local fauna. Natural play in the form of a digging pit, plants, a waterpump and an open area for moveable equipment were key elements of this design. Rocks were used for seating. Pebbles were used in the water play area for colour and play value. A low level stage was created to hang canvas walls and garlands and to allow children to sit, draw on blackboards or play games. The large pot plants provide indigenous bush tucker plants, veggies and flowers. It was also felt important to provide a traditional play item, such as a swing, to encourage timid children to engage with the outdoor environment. The project is a resounding success. Children are learning to take turns using the water pump to care for plants, they are building tunnels in the digging pit and harvesting veggies from the garden. The stage is a place for imaginary play and the garden a place for the children to make their own space and eat their lunch while talking about their discoveries. What the judges said.... • A wonderful result for a small local early childhood community; • Large amount of consultation with and engagement of children and the community during the design process; • The solid team approach to this project was commended. Highly Commended - St Linus' Anglican Kindergarten Playspace and Community Gathering Space, Merlynston, Vic Each of these entries present unique, original approaches to playspace design within education and care services. The strong themes of the successful entries include a commitment to consultation with children and the community during the design process, inclusion of natural play features, and provision of appropriate challenge for children during play. These themes are aligned with recognised best practice within education and care services. The successful entries for the remaining categories of Schools, Public Playspaces and Innovative Design Elements present many great ideas that can be incorporated into playspace designs. The full results of the Kidsafe 2012 National Playspace Design Awards program are available at: http://www.kidsafensw.org/playground-safety/design-awards/ If you have plans to update your outdoor learning environment and would like to discuss your ideas, all states are encouraged to contact Kidsafe NSW on 02 9845 0890.
Reflections Magazine Issue 51