Saturday, 22 August 2015

The Secret Garden - Uijeongbu,South Korea - Olson Kundig Architects

OK — Secret Garden

More photos and a complete description of the project can be see through the hyperlink above.

This is a phenomenal project designed and built by exceptionally skilled and perceptive architects in conjunction with a talented artist. I  have previously posted here on the emergence of a trend in inner Sydney to incorporate childcare centres into high density residential and commercial complexes.

Picture property of Olson Kundig architects
The 20,000square foot (6096 metres) is called the Secret Garden and is located on the 9th floor of a department store in Uijeongbu, South Korea. The outcome of this project indicates that the architects were included from the initial stages of design and serious consideration was given to the financial and structural requirements of the project. I say serious because so often such projects are considered adornments to the hardworks and only looked at in terms of residual funds and space, liability and limited or no regard is given to the buildings structural integrity.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Hope and Healing for Children Affected by Domestic Violence |

Hope and Healing for Children Affected by Domestic Violence |

An excerpt from the above article. To read the full article connect via the hyperlink . You may need to create a free account, which gives you five credits to read five articles for free, a great resource.

I came across this article whilst reading another one on design strategies for domestic violence shelters at the Building Dignity site which can be viewed here,

Picture is property of and link to AIFS - Mandatory reporting
Natural healing

A more naturalized outdoor space can provide an alternative to the playground for traumatized children that allows them to move in ways that heal: walking or running on pathways through plantings, or dancing to soothing sounds made by rain sticks or an outdoor marimba.

 At Family Shelter Service, Mary Kay Inc. and the Mary Kay Foundation approached the shelter with funds to create a naturalized outdoor play space for their children. The outdoor space is filled with separate areas for planting, building with blocks, climbing, moving along pathways, digging in sand and soil, making music, dancing, and exploring and manipulating natural materials such as wood chips, pieces of tree branches, and small logs. Program staff attended a workshop to learn ways to use nature in children's daily learning, and the program has recently become a certified Nature Explore Classroom. Mary Kay Inc. and the Mary Kay Foundation, as part of their efforts to support families affected by domestic violence, and to provide opportunities for children to connect with nature, have also funded the creation of Nature Explore Classrooms in four other domestic violence shelters in New Jersey, Texas, Georgia, and California.

"We see these Nature Explore Classrooms as a critical tool in helping to end the cycle of domestic violence that so often passes from generation to generation," said Anne Crews, Vice President of Government Relations for Mary Kay Inc. and Mary Kay Foundation board member. "The classrooms will provide a safe, peaceful, and quiet place for children who have been abused or witnessed abuse to play, learn, and most importantly, to heal."

Shauna Bigelow, Shelter Children's Counselor, describes the benefits of connecting with nature on a daily basis for the children in the Family Shelter Service Residential Program:

"Nature provides so many lessons for us. As the children explore, they are learning about life cycles, change, uniqueness, responsibility, and stewardship.

"A young girl learning to water and care for a small plant is also learning to care for herself. A little boy watching a resident killdeer protect her nest begins to explore family dynamics. These lessons open the children's minds and hearts, and the healing begins."

Numerous studies have shown the profound benefits that all children receive from connecting with the natural world. Children affected by violence are especially in need of the soothing benefits of nature. Children who witness traumatic events may feel helpless and experience the world as unpredictable, hostile, and threatening. Spending time in nature can provide reassurance through the predictable routines of the seasons, the gentle way leaves sway in the wind, and the comforting beauty of flowers in bloom. Children can also heal by engaging in caretaking activities. As children water plants or trees, pull weeds in a garden or feed the birds, they begin to define themselves as nurturing individuals — an antidote to the sometimes violent parental role models they experienced.

Australian researcher, Almut Beringer (2000), who conducted research on how nature heals found that "experiencing healing through nature may initiate or strengthen an ethic of care for nature."

Monday, 3 August 2015

Texture panels

Completed and on their way to their new home these three texture panels are to be mounted in an under two's playspace. All the panels feature components or have components that have been treated to weather the weather.

The panels feature a variety of timbers, different metal and metallic finishes, 9 imitation and cloth textures, leather, rubber, hessian, brass, ceramics and repurposed plastics. The timber components have been sectioned and sanded so that a child running their hand across an item will feel a gradient of textures from the raw untouched surface through to the wood after it has been finely sanded.

Each panel contains three coloured sorting trays that children and educators can fill with a variety of textured natural components.

The final panel contains a tiny dinosaur locked in a knothole in amber colored perspex. Why? Because I could and everyone loves a surprise.


Friday, 17 July 2015

Early child development: Body of knowledge : Nature : Nature Publishing Group

Early child development: Body of knowledge : Nature 

Full article can be read from the hyperlink above.

Three interesting and integrated articles relating to play, playspace design and nature by Barbara Kiser:  Learning through doing,  Günter Beltzig: Learn to play, play to learn  & Stephen Kellert: Build nature into education.

From the Stephen Kellert article 

"Immersion in the sensory and informational richness and dynamic qualities of woodlands, beaches and meadows evokes basic learning responses such as identification, differentiation, analysis and evaluation. Children distinguish big trees from little trees, house plants from garden plants, vines from ferns, ants from flies, ducks from songbirds, real creatures from imaginary ones. They develop quantitative skills by counting insects and flowers; gain materials knowledge from playing in grass and mud; intuit physics from how creek water responds to obstacles and opportunities. In recognizing hills, valleys, lakes, rivers and mountains, they learn geological form. In engaging with other life from redwood trees to hedgehogs, they encounter an endless source of curiosity, emotional attachment and a motivation for learning. In adapting to the ever-changing, often unpredictable natural world, they learn to cope and problem-solve."

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

IJERPH | Free Full-Text | What is the Relationship between Risky Outdoor Play and Health in Children? A Systematic Review | HTML

Full article can be read from the hyperlink above.

Photograph: Tim Laman/Getty images Tim Laman/Getty
"The evidence from our systematic review indicates that the overall positive health effects of increased risky outdoor play provide greater benefit than the health effects associated with avoiding outdoor risky play. Although these findings are based on ‘very low’ to ‘moderate’ quality evidence, the evidence suggests overall positive effects of risky outdoor play on a variety of health indicators and behaviours in children aged 3-12 years. Specifically, play where children can disappear/get lost and risky play supportive environments were positively associated with physical activity and social health, and negatively associated with sedentary behaviour. Play at height was not related to fracture frequency and severity. Engaging in rough and tumble play did not increase aggression, and was associated with increased social competence for boys and popular children, however results were mixed for other children. There was also an indication that risky play supportive environments promoted increased play time, social interactions, creativity and resilience.  These positive results reflect the importance supporting children’s risky outdoor play opportunities as a means of promoting children’s health and active lifestyles."

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Old MacDonald's Childcare

21 Mandalong Cl, Orchard Hills
NSW 2748

Some amazing before and "during" (because it is not totally finished yet) aerial drone shots of the phenomenal Old MacDonald's Childcare Centre in Orchard Hills, Sydney. Jamie and his crew have done an amazing job and just have to complete one more playspace before their opening in October 2015.








Sunday, 28 June 2015

Let kids take risks when they play - Opinion - The Boston Globe

Let kids take risks when they play - Opinion - The Boston Globe

Full article can be read from the hyperlink above.

We have deprived children of free, venturesome play, presumably for their own good, but in the process we have denied them the opportunity to learn how to be resilient by playing in risky, emotion-inducing ways.