Tuesday, 13 September 2011

The great outdoors

Liz and I worked incredibly hard designing the playground that would suit the philosophy of the service, the needs of educators, families and children, while still meeting all regulations.

The following images are of the playground when it was completed in early Feb 2011.  We are still aiming for a larger planted area of lush green, and a natural shade space over the sandpit.  There are so many areas of the playground that I love, the mud pit, dry creek bed, veggie patch - but by far the most enjoyable is the grassy hill.  There is nothing better than sitting on top of the hill with the children and having snack, singing, reading or watching the clouds roll in over the nearby hills and discussing the weather, or watching the native Kookaburra in the tree.
Our Mud patch

This space has been used as a book area, home corner, block area, office
Sandpit, dry creek bed and frog pond

We sank the slide into the hill and have a fantastic texture fence
which has various natural fibers in sections

The fence also has a large piece of perspex for painting, shaving cream and mud play

Hi-lo logs and seats along with our vertical garden

The path winds its way through the playground, we used different stone types
to add colour and texture to the experience

Monday, 12 September 2011

"From little things big thing grow........"

Ok, I know I'm being very keen posting twice in one evening, but we had so many exciting experiences occur during our program today - I just had to share.

It started out small. 3 boys playing in the sandpit, building on play from the last few weeks,
rolling and smoothing the sand to make a road.
"It has to be really really flat" said R as he directed A (child with shovel) to fill the small holes left in the sand. As A smoothed the bumps he had an idea " I fink (sic) our road needs a dam, a big dam wif (sic) water".
RI returned with one of our "loose parts" containers full of water and tipped it into the hole,
"hey the sand is thirsty, the water has all gone".

We discussed how we could keep the water in the dam, and after much discussion an educator suggested - maybe using a plastic bag? "Nah, that will make the water sick" said RI "plastic is not good for the water".  So Educator and In and J looked in our loose parts area, where we found some tarps. By now other children had joined the experience, and we decided the pond needed to be larger. With so many differing opinions, it was difficult to make a decision about how big and deep the hole needed to be. A few children moved off to dig their own holes
and eventually returned to help the group. We placed the tarp in the hole and placed
rocks around to secure the space.

More children joined in, and the large group worked together to fill the hole with water.

M and B decided that the pond needed ducks and chickens to swim in it, and went inside to the open collage area and made animals out of containers, and floated them on the water.


While visiting a student on placement a few weeks ago, I observed a similar activity to this one, set up in the play room.  I sat back and watched as children manipulated the tongs with one hand, or both, to pick up objects and place them in containers.  I reflected on the button sorting experience we introduced a few weeks ago, the children frequented the experience and obviously have a keen interest in sorting, classifying and organising objects.

L and C were drawn to the experience and quickly asked for more objects to be added.  Pom-Poms were added to enhance the play and add a little colour.

I'm really interested to see how this experience is explored, and I'm excited by the possibilities to extend and enhance the children's learning.