Risdon Park South Kindergarten welcomes upgrades to outdoor play area

FUN: Evie and Charlie love playing with the new water pump at Risdon Park South Kindergarten.
FUN: Evie and Charlie love playing with the new water pump at Risdon Park South Kindergarten.

Children at Risdon Park South Kindergarten are enjoying upgrades to their outdoor play area.

The $17,000 upgrades include a natural play space, water pump course and sandpit.

The area was designed by Climbing Tree Nature Play who also developed the nature play space at Bowman Park.

The new sandpit and revamped nature play space allows the children to develop an awareness and appreciation and for the natural environment.

Kindergarten director Andrea Tyler said the funds had been raised by the governing council in the past few years.

"We have held fundraisers such as children's discos, cooking at Mundoora, raffles, and a photography session," she said.

Ms Tyler said the children have been learning about how to take care of an environment and being water wise.

"They access their own water for their play with the new water pump, whereas before it used to be a tap, so this is much easier," she said.

"They have been working collaboratively and problem solving to connect pipes and channel the water to run down different pathways into the sandpit.

"The children have also become gardeners, planting flowers, herbs and vegetables in our garden beds.

"They use these plants in their play by 'cooking' in the sandpit, creating artworks and experimenting to make potions."

Ms Tyler said the kindergarten has been moving towards a nature play space as the benefits for childhood development are "limitless".

"Nature ignites a passion for learning in people of all ages," she said.

"There are a lot of benefits to nature play, a lot of literacy and numeracy learning and dispositions of curiosity and cooperation.

"While playing with nature, children develop life long skills such as new vocabulary and dispositions for learning as they wonder, engage, explain, experiment, imagine, reason, collaborate and reflect on their learning.

"These spaces invite open-ended interactions, spontaneity, risk-taking, exploration, discovery and connection to nature."

Ms Tyler said the kindergarten is grateful for continuous support from the Targeted Lead Abatement Program.

"With the space in the side yard we received a lot of support from TLAP with revamping the area and making it more lead safe with the bark chips," she said.

"TLAP replaced our carpet as part of their lead improvement scheme and we have changed our lino to look more like floorboards.

"There is also an outdoor hand washing trough and rocks to help reduce lead dust."

Children at the kindergarten said they are enjoying the new area.

Evie said she likes "playing in the water" and "balancing" on the nature logs.

Ace said his favourite part about the sandpit is "digging holes and seeing if there are pipes underground."

Jasper said: "Well I like pumping the pump."

Charlie said "it's pretty cool" and he likes the tree shade that covers the sandpit.

"I like to pump water and tip it out and make mud," he said.

"I catch the water in a big hole and make a big river."