The other week I was visiting a super nursery in Aberdeen as part of a Grounds for Learning site visit. The staff are currently developing their outdoor space for the babies which is looking like this:
The piles of sand will become little hills. The staff plan to put a small and slightly elevated pipe through one of the hills for the children to roll objects down. Behind the hills will be three tyres inserted upright. As one parent pointed out to his child, the tyres come from different vehicles so are all slightly different. There was a motorcycle tyre and two different car tyres. Also out-of-sight, the staff plan to provide a variety of different surfaces for the children to crawl and walk across. A sand pit will also be created in due course.
The baby room is round the other side of the building. It’s a small nursery so this isn’t a problem as the staff understand the need for the children to have lots of time outside daily, all year round and in all weathers. However, the staff want to brighten up the view from their baby room. This is the view just outside the window:
If you look you can see one or two objects hanging from the trees…
So now…I’m asking for your ideas and suggestions. How would you brighten up this space? The babies can’t access the area, they can only see it from their window.
Here’s some of my thoughts:
- Paint the wall a cream colour to complement the trees and shrubs. Rather than growing climbing plants up it, have it clean and calm so that the trees and shrubs are in greater focus.
- Add a little more topsoil to the ground. Mulch the area and cover with bark chips to reduce the need for weeding, care and maintenance. Plant a variety of perennial flowers and bulbs so that there is always something in bloom all year round.
- Use the trees and shrubs as a 3D display area. Whatever the children’s focus and interests are indoors, use the space outside to attract attention. For example, if a baby likes looking at a mirror indoors, then hang one or two on the trees outside. A child who likes teddies may find that one day there are some teddies having a picnic outside.
- Put seasonal objects, e.g. decorate the trees with Christmas decorations in December. Have red colours as a focus during the Chinese New Year (red is considered a lucky colour in China, I believe)
- Put up bird feeders and enjoy watching birds visit. Have pictures of the common garden birds that visit inside near the window for reference.
Please do tell me your suggestions – however small or grand – and I’ll pass them onto the nursery staff. Thank you!