Nature play adventures take over South Perth

After months of planning and preparation, the South Perth Early Childhood Centre, of South Perth Uniting Church, opened their new nature playground, on Wednesday 23 October.

Despite the short bursts of rain, kids and adults alike took joy in exploring the playground and enjoying new adventures.

A nature playground is a specially designed playground which encourages children to play in elements of nature, such as climbing trees, playing in gardens and even getting dirty in the mud. In August 2018, the South Perth Early Childhood Centre was granted $65 000 from Lotterywest to build theirs.

Noelene Moir, Director of the South Perth Early Childhood Centre, engaged Bernhard Kaiser, via Nature Play WA, a not-forprofit organisation encouraging unstructured outdoor nature play for WA children. Through his business, Natural Play Environments, Bernhard designs unique and specialised playgrounds through lots of consultation, and creates inclusive playgrounds with a focus on art and music.

“He’s done amazingly well to create these areas for us,” Noelene said.

The new playground at the South Perth Early Childhood Centre reflects Bernhard’s artistic flair, with a ‘music fence’ installed where a picket fence used to be, separating younger children from  the older kids. Now, kids can interact with each other through the music fence, making as much noise as they want.

“It’s been transformed from a fence where children are on both sides and segregated, now they share the space,” Noelene said. “They share it and they speak to one another through the fence.”

The playground also features a boat with a bow made of grass, a fairy garden, water play, textured paths, a cubby made with plant walls and loads more.

Noelene said the new additions have been welcomed by staff, parents, kids and the community.

“Since it’s gone in our waiting list has increased,” she said. “The kids love it and the parents love it too.”

“We’re a homely, small centre and now we have a beautiful outdoor environment.”

To officially mark the occasion, some children from the centre cut the ribbon, which they had made themselves and tied around their new boat.

For more information about the South Perth Early Childhood Centre visit specc.com.au

To find out more about the benefits of nature play for children visit natureplaywa.org.au

Heather Dowling

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