Pallets & Pre-school Outdoor Play

20 May 2015 · 1 comment

in Developing School Grounds & Outdoor Spaces, Early Years Outdoors, International

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My final training session in Australia was at Glendale Early Education Centre. The establishment had just opened after a 2-week closure owning to flooding. As the Chinese proverb states, “Rather light a candle than complain about the darkness,” the staff took the opportunity to further develop their outdoor space based upon discussions with, and the interests of, the children in their care.

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What immediately grabbed me was the clever use of repurposed pallets. They were quietly hidden everywhere amidst some creative additional features.

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The sound exploration wall above is a 3-sided pallet structure. The other sides have hooks for the resources in the sand play area and an open-ended wall, ideal for vertical loose parts play. Below you get a better look at the construction.

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Naturally the boat adds interests. The back half of the boat is being saved as a potential planting plot in future months.

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The sand pit was clearly much loved and I liked how resources were left for children to continue playing where they left off from the day before. In the photo above, look at the smaller table on the left hand side – a baby’s bath has been built into the table – perfect for imaginative play with dolls.

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There is a sand kitchen role play area, made from pallets. I like the mini cubby space below the sink.

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This posh pallet feature is a raised digging pit. It good to see mud play offered on different levels and beside a dry creek. Check out the flower bed at the top.

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The back-to-back mirror above was salvaged from a public water play feature. It was really clever and gave this little zone a feeling of greater space. When entering through the wooden frame, you are greeted by your mirror self.

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The wooden frame was created through the use of pallets. The centre was able to afford to pay a joiner for 6 hours of work and had $400AUSD to spend. It seems to be a very open-ended and versatile entrance frame. If you look to the left, more pallets have been used as part of the boundary to this little zone.

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Lastly, I loved this set of wooden chairs. Look how they have been prepared for wet weather! Holes need to be put on each welly though, to stop them filling up with water.

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If you are looking for other posts about pallets for play and learning, check out these ones.

Finally if you are looking for information about the safety and suitability of pallets for your projects, have a look at Pallet 1001’s advice here.

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