Sunday, 31 May 2015

James Street Park, Redfern & Risk taking in design and play


I had seen a photo of a new pocket park in James Street Redfern the other day and had some time to spare today, so I thought I'd give it a visit.

As anyone who has read my site and blog would know I specialize and promote the design and construction of naturalistic play environments, hence I was specifically interested in how they had incorporated a mature tree into the playspace.

As the photos show the park slopes gently downwards from William Street to George Street, running parallel to Cleveland Street. The park has been built up to the William Street level for about a 2/3 of its length then gently descends to George Street using terraced sandstone blocks.



The platform around the tree appears to have been purpose built with steps leading up to it and a slide descending from it on the William Street side. There is also a hydraulic fireman's pole on the George Street side.   








There is a machined green metal roof over the platform, some of the holes are studded with multi-coloured marbles, which I'm sure provide a beautiful effect on a sunny day. 

The thing that I found really interesting was the school aged child who had used the the platform railings and roof as a means to climb into the actual tree. I have circled him in red in the picture below, his bag, stowed under the platform is also circled. I'm unaware of the intended age group the park and it's equipment was created for but in the inner, inner city there are very few trees this accessible for climbing.

The structure itself has been created to reduce risks in play, everything from the sit-down bar on the slide to the high railings and vertical slats, yet it is the tree and the risk of climbing an actual tree he is drawn to. Interesting?










Monday, 25 May 2015

Let the Kids Learn Through Play - NYTimes.com

Let the Kids Learn Through Play - NYTimes.com



Full article can be read from the hyperlink above.




"Children’s progress “may have been slowed by overly academic preschool experiences that introduced formalized learning experiences too early for most children’s developmental status,” Dr. Marcon wrote. Nevertheless, many educators want to curtail play during school. “Play is often perceived as immature behavior that doesn’t achieve anything,” says David Whitebread, a psychologist at Cambridge University who has studied the topic for decades. “But it’s essential to their development. They need to learn to persevere, to control attention, to control emotions. Kids learn these things through playing.”

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Redefining the Playground | kidsgardening.org

Redefining the Playground | kidsgardening.org

Great site, in Australia we have a number of separate independent programs but I wish we had something central like this.

Full article can be read from the hyperlink above.
"Playgrounds with plants, wildlife habitats, and water features provide youngsters with a chance to interact with their environment and participate in creative, self-directed play. Leaves, flowers, pinecones, sticks, and rocks have more creative power than narrowly focused toys. Seasonal and lifecycle changes, such as leaves changing colors and flowers moving from bud to bloom to seed, add to the intrigue of the natural play space and build excitement. Natural spaces can give kids more freedom to move at their own pace and practice decision-making skills."


Friday, 8 May 2015

Bronte Kids Playspace


 Bronte, Sydney, New South Wales
Construction: J M Landscapes

Bronte Kids was a challenging site to work on due to its position. The centre is situated at the bottom of the gully and access to the site had to be negotiated with a neighbor. The site is overshadowed by massive established trees and is surrounded by unit blocks and residences. The brief called for the design to fit the existing space with minimal change to levels and to incorporate the existing level changes into the design. Before and after shots speak for themselves.

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