Early childhood educators recognize the significance of outdoor play and learning spaces that inspire children’s minds and bodies to think and move. La Ribambelle, a French-language centre in London, Ontario wanted an outdoor space that invited children to learn, cooperate, move and appreciate nature.
The mature trees that surrounded the site provided a perfect backdrop for this natural play space that combines zones for active play with zones for social and cooperative play. One corner of the property was built up to create a space for a hill slide accessed by irregular log steppers or horizontal log steps. A beautiful palisade wall of unpeeled logs provides an organic backdrop to the natural space. While the bark will eventually fall off or be pulled back by children, it adds texture and interest as it naturally ages. Log steppers are used to roughly delineate the active play zone from the more passive play zone but in and of themselves, they become an active play element for children who learn to navigate the irregular and variable route.
Planting boxes are just the right height for children to plant seeds, water them and watch them grow! A discovery table is an ideal gathering space but can also be a fun climbing piece when burning off energy takes priority. A massive log bench is a space for teachers to sit quietly with children or observe play.