Today’s Family Early Learning child care centre at Saltfleet in Hamilton was an opportunity to build an exciting natural playground. Today’s Family used public grant funding that was awarded for outdoor improvements for several of their locations.
This relatively large site provides ample room for separate infant, toddler and preschool playground spaces. The designers kept large areas of open green space for non-prescribed play. The design includes integrated seating decks and places to play under the canopies of the beautiful mature trees on site. Because of them, the playground has tons of shady places for comfortable play.
The toddler and preschool areas have a rich diversity of active, social, dramatic and constructive play opportunities. Children can climb 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.