The Place for Stones: Cowgate U5’s Centre

11 August 2011 · 7 comments

in Developing School Grounds & Outdoor Spaces, Early Years Outdoors, Play Resources

Cowgate Under 5’s Centre‘s outdoor space has undergone quite a transformation since the last time I was there. What really struck me was the sheer abundance of beautiful stones scattered around every nook and cranny…

Stones in the outdoor shed (no more sand in here)!

Stones scattered in the mirror tunnel and beyond – great for reflective activities!

Stones lining the edges and ridges filling those little spaces

A place to sit above the stones! Imagine feeling the warmth of the stones on a sunny afternoon with your bare feet!

A bridge to crawl over the stones…or to reach under…beware of the troll!

Better a shoe on a stone than a stone in a shoe!

Stones for protecting the soil and helping to grow plants.

And tyre after tyre filled with stones for moving, playing, transporting, rolling, scattering and any thing else you need them for.

Teresa – one of the pre-school staff – told me that the building company that supplied the sand also supplied the stones at a very competitive price. Check out your nearest building supplies merchant and be up for a little haggling…

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

jenny August 11, 2011 at 07:49

I love all the stones – perfect for little hands to carry around and use in their play.


Sunny Ellis August 11, 2011 at 21:23

Just today I saw my little guy tapping a rock on its side and then pretending to cook eggs. Rocks are the best for kids. Of course they are kind of hard on washing machines.


Juliet Robertson August 11, 2011 at 21:46

Oh yes – you are so right Sunny – in fact that’s a good reminder to remover a stone I’ve stashed in a trouser pocket!

Thanks Jenny!


Inspired Montessori August 12, 2011 at 05:44

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Juliet Robertson August 12, 2011 at 08:26

Thank you very much! How nice and unexpected!


den August 12, 2011 at 10:15

After being inspired by previous blogs, I shipped out all sorts of wonderful pebbles for us to explore. Twas a bit of a mixed session as I was the only one on garden duty. Some had fun transporting them and building piles, patterns were created, wonder at the weight of the largest of them experienced, and wow you can’t half throw them a long way, and don’t they make a lovely noise when hitting a window.
I was wondering if others feel we let down children by the ridiculous ratio of 1 to 13 children!
ps love your enthusiasm and commitment. Look forward to new posts.


Juliet Robertson August 12, 2011 at 20:45

Hi Den

You’ve picked up on an interesting point – I think if children aren’t used to sticks, stones and other “risky” materials then there is an acclimatisation period. This does mean more creative ways of approaching matters and may involve less stones and less children. However, eventually it does all settle down in most settings (I’m sure there’s always one or two that are exceptions that prove the rule).

Thanks for your kind and encouraging words,


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