Our Play Spaces
We strive to offer a warm environment for those who visit – one that instantly says...
“"You are welcome here..."
Designing a play space for us means creating a space of life and of the future.
The interior and exterior elements of our centres are designed and organised in an interconnected way that fosters interaction, autonomy, explorations, curiosity and communication. Our environments are offered as places for the children, and for the adults too who play alongside them, to research and to learn together.
We see the design of our environment as equally important as the curriculum and learning that happens within it!
Green Beginnings believes strongly in the power of nature and the outdoors for the inspiration and enrichment it gives to children's learning and curiosity. Our play space design and resources promote respectful relationships with the environment we share. Children are encouraged and guided to explore, investigate, ponder, create, imagine, and wonder as they smell, touch, listen to, and taste everything that is real in the world around them.
We hope for those who enter our plays spaces to feel surrounded and immersed in earthy, warm influences, filled with beauty, varying in textures, shapes, spaces and varying levels - like you are in a forest, a river bed, or in a field full of flowers.
Green Beginnings values the benefits of learning together. We have chosen to omit small fences sectioning off age groups or rooms in our design. Whilst your child will be enrolled to a particular group of educators our shared multi -age play spaces welcome interactions between all ages throughout the day. Children are supported to choose where they would like to position their play (whether it be indoors or outdoors) through flow between our rooms, outdoor play space, and children’s cooking area. Children here are often seen spending time with their siblings or children of differing ages - something we value and encourage for its rich social and emotional experience.
The environment interacts with, is changed, and takes shape in relation to the projects and learning experiences of the children and of the adults.
Care of the furniture, the objects and the experiences offered to the children and the adults is an educational act that develops well-being, a sense of familiarity and belonging, respect for aesthetics and the pleasure of being part of and living in a space.
Our offerings to children are based on our values and our philosophy and our image of the child.
We value opportunities for children to express themselves through creative art forms and have included art studios (or atelier as described by our influences in Reggio Emilia) in every play space to support this. Here children are encouraged to let their feelings guide their imagination and creativity. These studios are equipped with clay, paint, sculpting wire, recycled materials; charcoal, dried leaves, twigs, flowers, twine, tape, seeds, beans, and anything provided by educators or families that is representative of children’s interests at the time.
Gardening is a very valued experience here and in helping to foster a sustainable way of life, we take children though all facets of the growing cycle. Children are involved in ...
mixing soil to prepare garden beds (from our compost and worm farms)
planting large seeds and seedlings
observing plant growth
scientific names of plants
Identifying plants and herbs and fruits and vegetables
harvesting and using the produce in our cooking
Cooking is seen as part of children’s everyday learning experiences. We have built a dedicated cooking space for this purpose, and upon entering our doors you will often experience the aroma of the days baking. During these times our educators cater for and are respectful of, differing food intolerance’s, cultural and family beliefs, and children's right to try new things when they are ready. Children have wonderful opportunities to participate in a range of different cooking experiences that give opportunities for them to taste, smell and feel ingredients. Where possible we harvest produce from our vegetable garden for these experiences.
Our services offer children and families access to worm farms, organic vegetable gardens, a wooden climbing wall, dry rock quarry, bamboo huts, large sandpit, cobbled bike paths, and quiet leafy areas to sit with a book, puppet or friend- all surrounded by a natural turf playground.
Our Play spaces allow for children to .....
Run, bounce, balance, dance, jump, climb and ride a bicycle
Our outdoor play space has balancing beams made from logs, a cobbled bike track made from recycled granite and old railway sleepers, stumps collected from a families old tree that was cut down, boulders in our rock quarry, canopy of leaves and branches , and a port jackson fig tree, are all strategically placed in our environment to support and encourage these important parts of play.
Explore, investigate and experiment
Natural inclusions in and around our play spaces such as rock quarries, vegetable gardens, logs to peek under or balance across, stumps of trees, and open grassy areas allow for risky play, and large motor development. Plants strategically placed throughout our play spaces attract certain species of insects, bugs and beetles and all intrigue and spark interest to a wandering eye and inquisitive mind.
Get wet, muddy, sandy
Access to outdoor taps, large sand pits, as well as mud patch/kitchen (in conjunction with or without loose parts) create a perfect environment for messy play. Children (and adults) are free to play outside on rainy days and we encourage families to bring rain coats and gum boots for those who prefer. Every room in our service has been designed with these aspects of a child's day in mind, and a shower is included for those who want to get warm or clean after a run in the rain or tonka truck adventure in the mud patch.
Smell, taste, touch and feel the world around them
OUr play spaces are filled with vegetable gardens, flower beds and potted planter boxes full of colour, and smells and visiting insects. Rosemary lined bike tracks, and hanging passionfruit arbours, offer a sensorial experience whilst cruising around on your bike. Our very own specifically designed cooking space enables us to use our home grown produce to bake something to share throughout the day. The natural environment here aids in children's senses being delighted, ignited and soothed.
Build, invent, and design
Art studios, rock quarry, access to loose parts within the environment, blocks and construction materials and building resources support those with an architectural, engineering, creative mind. Clipboards throughout the service provide a flat surface for children wanting to represent their ideas with marks anywhere they have the inspiration,
Paint, mold, draw, write, read, and relax
Literacy rich materials that support spoken written and musical language are always available. We encourage this individual progression through real life, meaningful experiences and incorporate it into children's play. Our art studio resources, and offerings to children presented throughout the indoor and outdoor play spaces encourage literacy everywhere - not just on a table inside. Bamboo hutches, cubby houses and inclusions of and access to, sheets or fabric convert many of our spaces into quiet reading nooks or a space to be close to someone for a chat or a laugh together. We know that artistic inspiration is found everywhere and our paint mediums and creative tools are not just found in the art area . Block constructions, rock quarries, vegetable gardens and a view to the lake all offer inspiration and allow for artistic thought to be supported.
Act out, dress up, dance, sing and dramatise their thoughts and feelings or show their understandings and representations.
We have resources readily available to allow children to use as props or enhance their inquiries or investigations during play. Children have access to varying types of materials and fabric, hats and bags and shoes, coats, and boots, construction materials, and so much more. Tea sets and blankets support an impromptu tea party (maybe in the bamboo hutch, which mind you has once been transformed from a quiet reading area to a stage for a rock concert or ballet recital in the past). Our educators roll with the interest and often our environment is changed to support this learning opportunity. Our art studios in our toddler play space have been filled with hay during an interest in farm animals and transformed into a ballet studio and also a Sea life tunnel during moments of magic here.