Solomontown kindergarten wins 'landscape' award

GOOD FUN: Pre-schoolers Kahlan Saris, left, and Bentley Stutley have fun on the logs in the nature-based playground at Solomontown Kindergarten.
GOOD FUN: Pre-schoolers Kahlan Saris, left, and Bentley Stutley have fun on the logs in the nature-based playground at Solomontown Kindergarten.

It’s official! The children at Solomontown Kindergarten are having the best fun ever.

Their playground has been recognised with a South Australian Landscape Architecture award.

It was among five sites honoured as being among the state’s best play spaces at the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects’ prestige ceremony in Adelaide.

And, once the gliitz and glamour had settled on the award, the children just continued to enjoy the playground featuring logs, rocks, sandpit, creek bed, water pump and plants.

It is a slice of heaven for youngsters.

Despite the angles of jutting timber and rocks, the site was given a safety check and came up trumps.

“Some people were surprised by the number of rocks, but these are good for balance and co-ordination,” said teacher Cammie Noonan.

“We obviously want children to be challenged, otherwise they are not going to grow and learn.”

Mrs Noonan was kindergarten director when the project was built last year.

It involved shifting the enrolment of 30 to the Port Pirie West Children’s Centre for term two during construction work.

“The entire yard was bulldozed and started again from scratch,” Mrs Noonan said.

“Everthing you see is new – the ‘grass mountain’, as the kids call it, and the sandpit, logs for stepping and climbing on and the fort which gives great height for the children to see across a whole different perspective to play in and under and over.

“There is a dry creek bed for exploring. The sandpit has a water pump to enhance their play – they often fill buckets and watering cans to irrigate the plants.

“The children take a lot of responsibility for the plants.

“Children learn about the environment and respect and caring for nature as a part of our learning program and become responsible citizens.

“Nature play has been a focus of the whole upgrade.”

She said the Pirie West children were invited in term three to share the excitement of the project.

Pre-schoolers Bentley Stutley and Kathlan Saris enjoyed climbing on the logs and ladder when The Recorder was photographing the playground.

The awards give recognition to the powerful role that landscape architects play in building stronger communities.

Design and engagement were key themes in the presentations made by the architects’ group.

This year’s jury noted the awards reflect the breadth of the landscape architecture profession through entries ranging from civic spaces underpinning future development to healing spaces that support well-being and ageing.

Solomontown Kindergarten and the four other sites representing the education department’s outdoor learning areas will go into the national award judging in Sydney.