Designing the day care institution's playground
On the playground in a nursery and in a kindergarten, the child strengthens their basic motor skills. The child is getting to know their body - what can I already do? The nursery age is also a time in the child's development when they can make quantum leaps in their motor skills if challenged correctly. Meanwhile, the playground should also be a place where children can practice and train different social skills in play communities with other children.
Have you been tasked with designing a new playground for a day-care institution, preschool, or similar? Then we can be your professional sparring partner, ready to advise you from start to finish.
Values for pedagogical work and curricula can vary and will be culturally determined.
Key points for the design
Five key points to consider when designing the outdoor space for a day-care institution:
- Children must be allowed to be children
- Play is the main focus
- Less focus on being school-preparatory
- hildren must learn to manage by themselves in life
- Children need to learn to engage with others
Six curriculum themes
We design the outdoor space in day-care institutions based on these six key points. We tend to work with six curriculum themes from The Strengthened Pedagogical Curriculum, 2018.
How do we build and create the best outdoor spaces?
When we design a playground, we work with four key concepts:
An example of an architectural drawing of a playground
Based on the six curriculum themes and the four concepts mentioned above, an architect-designed playground for an institution could look like this:
The construction of the playground - what to remember
Based on the Day Care Services Act and 'The strengthened pedagogical curriculum', a good and developing playground in a crèche and a kindergarten is an outdoor free space where children can be children. There is room for the individual child to strengthen his or her self-esteem and while also developing in play communities with others.
The construction of the playground
A well-appointed playground has a centrally located common zone, preferably close to the entrance and exit of the day-care institution. Here there must be room for children and adults, and everyone should be able to sit and relax as well as sit and eat. There may also be a podium or a stage for community gatherings. In addition, the playground should be divided into a number of smaller and larger areas; a large, open playground with transparent tools will not appeal to many. Small cosy oases, where you can hide, immerse yourself and be alone or be together in a small group, will be good for especially younger children.
Create different areas using:
• Terrain differences such as hills and dips as well as raised podiums for a specific game
• Transitions in paving materials, e.g. in the form of a path
• Large play equipment such as playhouses or cabins, but children must always be able to get hold of an adult easily
Quiet zones are best placed furthest away from the common zone. On the opposite side of the common zone is where the more dynamic activities should be placed, such ball games, cycling, rotation, swings and climbing.
When designing and building a playground for 0-6-year-olds, consider the following:
• Different area sizes - both large and open for wild, active play as well as small and more closed for peaceful play
• Planting in the form of grass, trees, shrubs, flowers and planters to help define the space
• Level differences so that the child can run/drive up and down hills. Puddles and ice can form, however.
• Resting options such as areas for sitting, lying, standing and areas to hang out in for both children and staff
• Both sunny and shady areas - especially important in summer
• And last but not least, the entire aesthetic look of the playground is so much better if the choice of materials is consistent
Be inspired here and check out selected references
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