The Saltfleet site for Today’s Family Early Learning and Child Care Centre in Hamilton presented a unique opportunity to build a new and exciting natural playground using public grant funding.
This relatively large site provided for ample room to create separate Infant, Toddler and Preschool playground spaces, while still maintaining large areas of open green space for non-prescribed play. The design takes advantage of a number of existing mature trees on the property by integrating seating decks and creating places to play below the tree canopy.
Both the Toddler and Preschool areas provide a rich diversity of active, social, dramatic and constructive play opportunities through the use of natural materials. Children can let out their energy on log climbing features and slide platforms, power their tricycles along the concrete pathways, or run free in the open lawn areas. They can play pretend using elevated decks and platforms as stages, or play “house” around the outdoor kitchens and hut enclosures. They can work collaboratively in groups or quietly by themselves in the generously sized sand play areas to build whatever their imaginations desire.
To maintain an inclusive playground environment throughout the entire site an informal wheelchair access route wraps around a cluster of stepping logs and leads to the top of a slide platform. The scale and design also allow for multiple opportunities for children to find their own personal space for respite by providing a number of small outdoor rooms using a combination of built structures and plant material.