An introduction from the centre:
Our garden play space is continuously evolving around giving TLC to a 25-year -old ‘traditional fort’ – a definite favourite open-ended structure constructed with natural jarrah and pine logs with a wobbly rope bridge at one end, climbing ropes at the other, a wide slide on its eastern side and a cubby style space under a sloping landing. Not only does it challenge the children’s physical skills but it also promotes exciting experiences limited only by their imagination.
Since replacing the rubberised soft fall with natural soft fall, the children make the most of this versatile material and create ‘small world play’ around the perimeter and under the slide.
Open-ended nature play has always been at the centre of JELC’s philosophy. The ‘Enhancement Project’ began with Bernhard Kaiser of Nature Play Environments devising what we fondly refer to as ‘Our Master Plan’ from the JELC Community brief and based on the Centre’s philosophy. That was 10 years ago.
The textured tracks, tunnels and the grown labyrinth support the flow of ‘free range’ children who can meander to areas and in the company of those of their choosing.
The University horticulturist and team of gardeners provide pruned branches from time to time, top up the mudpit and support the staff with any gardening challenges. Parents and staff collect curb side prunings and bring them in to add to the learning and development opportunities for children, no matter their age or ability. The upkeep does not need to cost a lot with some creative thinking, if the Centre’s community shares the load and is on the lookout for materials that can be recycled or upcycled.
The nature canvas sparks new discoveries every day and enables educators to be responsive to ideas from both groups and individual children. The possibilities are endless.