Last week I was facilitating an evening training session up at Gardenstown Playgroup. It is one of the privileges of my work, that I get to visit different settings and to see lots of different ideas in action. I particularly like seeing what settings do with small outdoor spaces.
At the end of June, it was World Mud Day. This event was celebrated by Muddy Faces with the publication of an inspiring booklet written by Jan White. It is well worth downloading. The staff and children at Gardenstown liked what they saw. At the same time, some kitchen items from a nearby school were being thrown out. So these were immediately “rescued” and have been given a second life.
Because the white goods are child-sized, they make a great addition to the playgroup for role play. The setting has a woodland area and Forest School site adjacent to the outdoor space so mud was not needed. Instead, they applied the principles to create a one-tonne sandpit kitchen. I think the area demonstrates beautifully the concept of re-using items and making a playspace on a shoestring budget. You may have noticed overtones of the Cowgate Under 5’s Centre and the planted tyres surrounding one wall too.
The other part of their outdoor space which was endearing, is their woodland space. It is also tiny, but the children love this area very much. It’s great to see features such as the fire pit, climbing shelter and tyre swing in an outdoor space. If you look carefully, you will see that some of the bird nesting boxes are at child height. Two were occupied this year! Imagine that!
In the current economic climate, and with the need for all of us to adopt more sustainable lifestyles, it is great to see examples of practice such as this. It’s the simple pleasures in life we often enjoy and the simplicity of these child-friendly playspaces are there to be celebrated. Thank you Gardenstown Playgroup.