by Carleigh Ellis, pre-primary teacher at Landsdale Primary School
Landsdale School pre-primary staff are inspired and extremely passionate about the Reggio Emilia Approach. In 2010 when three purpose built classrooms were built, the outdoor space did not reflect and support our beautiful and inspiring indoor environments. The space included the standard playground equipment, softfall, sandpits and dead grass.
Proposals by staff were made to the school principal and the journey began, driven by the enthusiasm and motivation of the teaching staff. Over the five years we have spent $18,000 (P&C donations, school fundraising and funding from the school special projects budget) on materials, labour, landscaping, design and have had close to $10,000 worth of donations from local businesses including Bunnings, as well as parent support and donations from families.
At the end of 2014 the space now includes large areas for running as well as small spaces to play, wooden musical instruments, a camp fire, an arbor dome, a performing stage, amphitheatre, climbing trees, mud kitchen, loose parts, stepping stones, pathways, logs, a role play ‘shop’, benches to sit on and a kitchen garden. We are also utilizing a bush land area in a separate play area called ‘The Wildspace’.
We are so proud of our achievements and are enjoying playing in the space. We still have a long way to go to completely transform the entire space including adding a water stream, mud pit, wetlands garden, a ‘Mini Wildspace’ and fixing our forever dry grass. We are still motivated and inspired to continue our journey to ensure that the play space reflects what research says about making a place ‘fun’ for children to play in.