Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Max Michaels super cat

Usually I will only post about nature, play and playspaces on this blog however this is an extra special occasion.

Our cat Max has been entered into the Whiskas Big Cat Competition and is using that huge personality of his to work his way up from the bottom. So far he's been excluded because someone reported him for? No explanation given, Reinstated, with no explanation given. Pretty good for a one-eyed cat !!! (whose photo is not even Photoshopped?-- OK we're not going to mention that, nor the fact that some entries have obviously bought votes, yep, won't mention that either). Thank you to those 29 people that have voted for him already and the 7 marvelous people who shared his endeavors on their profile so other cat lovers (or even social cat lovers) could vote for him.  Max says if he wins then the money will go to the Cat Protection Society, based in Enmore, Sydney..... Please vote for him and share it in your profiles. You can also see more of Max here or read his bio below.


Max Michaels is 63% Big Cat!
Please click the link above to vote for Max Michaels to help us win one of five $5000 prizes from WHISKAS

About Max Michaels
Max arrived out of nowhere on my birthday. He was obviously a scavenger and a survivor. His body was criss-crossed with scars and wounds and his tail was black with dried blood and he smelt like a garbage bin. His left eye was watering and he was obviously starving. Although we already owned a cat there was no way we could take him to a cat shelter as they would put him down. A visit to the cat ophthalmologist, An operation to remove his crushed eye, multiple visits to the vet and he is now a loving, affectionate, one eyed wonder who is known and loved throughout the neighbourhood.

Gallery of Max






















Friday, 20 June 2014

Exploring nature and natural concepts

I was at a consult today and was asked by an educator about introducing and extending natural concepts in and out of the classroom. There is a wealth of information about how to introduce nature to preschool and school age children to be found on the internet. Specifically I find a lot on social networking sites like Pinterest. Green Grubs Garden Club
is New Zealand based page that has heaps of resources, specifically items created by educators that can be purchased at their store on Teachers pay Teachers and additional pages and links that they curate.

Later in the day I came across another Sydney based business Gecko Toys that blew me away with its range of natural resources for indoors and outdoors. I love their range of Gnomes/Forest people,
Fairy Houses and also their extensive range of accessories



and Anamalz. I was considering buying the Either the Australian Animals or Dino pack series to decorate the dashboard of the car.

 I am also happy to see that they distribute the TWIGZ range of childrens gardening gear. Aside from the specifically child sized Montessori Services range they are some of the more robust and evenly priced tools I have come across in my travels.



So, a few ideas there that can, if utilised properly, be extended into a complete nature philosophy      

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Newest project for 2014 - Banksia Cottage CCC

Macquarie University, North Ryde,
 Sydney, New South Wales
Construction: J M Landscapes



' Banksia Cottage was established by a committee of dedicated staff members of Macquarie University who needed childcare services on campus. Led by Jean Joss they lobbied the University and successfully began building the Centre in 1992.


The Centre opened its doors on Monday, February 22, 1993 as the Macquarie University Child Care Centre at Banksia Cottage.   It was licensed for 60 children and gave priority to families of University staff.  Professor Jack Bassett, Deputy Vice Chancellor, was appointed to oversee the governing Banksia Board.

In 1995, due to the increasing demand for Banksia's services, the University agreed to extend the Centre from 3 playrooms to five.


Banksia Cottage now comes under the management of Campus Life and is open to University staff and students. It retains the community spirit that it has always operated with and continues to provide high quality education and care to the University community.'


The major challenges in this design was to restructure both playspaces levels to provide a clear direct and safe pathway from top to bottom, maintain clear supervisory sight lines, integrate existing foliage and space that had previously been used for retaining into the overall design and to incorporate play and small group areas.

0-2 YO playspace, After, 2014.





















0-2 YO playspace, After, 2014.




0-2 YO playspace, After, 2014

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0-2 YO playspace, After, 2014.


0-2 YO playspace, Before, 2013
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 0-2 YO playspace, After, 2014.


0-2 YO playspace, After, 2014.






















0-2 YO playspace, Before, 2013.


0-2 YO playspace, Before, 2013. 














 0-2 YO playspace, Before, 2013.


 0-2 YO playspace, After, 2014.














2-5 YO playspace, Before, 2013.


2-5 YO playspace, Before, 2013.














2-5 YO playspace, After, 2014.


2-5 YO playspace, After, 2014.














 2-5 YO playspace, After, 2014.


 2-5 YO playspace, After, 2014.














2-5 YO playspace, Before, 2013.


 2-5 YO playspace, After, 2014.














2-5 YO playspace, After, 2014.


 2-5 YO playspace, After, 2014.














2-5 YO playspace, Before, 2013.


2-5 YO playspace, After, 2014.














2-5 YO playspace, Before, 2013.


 2-5 YO playspace, After, 2014.
One of the things that I like about how the new playspace is being used and one of the things that continues to surprise and delight me, is when children are able to adopt and care for individual plants. The markers in the garden are the names of the children who are caring for the plants. If you want to do something similar at your centre you don't necessarily need a new playspace, you can download free plant adoption certificates hereherehere, or here and plant name markers here.   














 2-5 YO playspace, After, 2014.


2-5 YO playspace, Before, 2013.














 2-5 YO playspace, Before, 2013.



 2-5 YO playspace, Before, 2013.















2-5 YO playspace, Before, 2013.


 2-5 YO playspace, After, 2014.














 2-5 YO playspace, After, 2014.
Some spectacular weaving on the new multipurpose frame.


 2-5 YO playspace, After, 2014.














 2-5 YO playspace, After, 2014.

An elevated water channel cascading down to the dry creek bed & sandpit.

 2-5 YO playspace, After, 2014.














 2-5 YO playspace, After, 2014.


2-5 YO playspace, Before, 2013.















2-5 YO playspace, Before, 2013.


 2-5 YO playspace, After, 2014.














2-5 YO playspace, After, 2014.


2-5 YO playspace, After, 2014.














 2-5 YO playspace, After, 2014.


 2-5 YO playspace, After, 2014.














2-5 YO playspace, Before, 2013.


2-5 YO playspace, Before, 2013.














 2-5 YO playspace, After, 2014.


 2-5 YO playspace, After, 2014.






















 2-5 YO playspace, After, 2014.


 2-5 YO playspace, After, 2014.














 2-5 YO playspace, After, 2014.


 2-5 YO playspace, After, 2014.