2020 Kidsafe National Playspace Design Awards winners announced
Windale Public School Preschool Nature Playground, located in New South Wales, and Fit Kidz Rouse Hill, from the same state, have taken out the top early childhood education and care (ECEC) honours in the 2020 Kidsafe National Playspace Design Awards, which were announced this week.
The Windale Preschool Nature Playground, designed by Andrew Smith Timber Creations, drew attention from the judges for the way in which it “transformed a very ordinary space into a nature haven for both children and staff,” winning the Preschool category.
Through the use of an aesthetically pleasing and well executed design, a “stimulating and creative play space” emerged, incorporating a diverse range of open-ended opportunities, incorporating natural materials in an environment for children to explore and enjoy.
In the Long Day Care category, Fit Kidz Rouse Hill, designed by Urban Landscape Projects, was commended for their efforts in sustainability and environmental awareness, key elements of the design of the project.
The space includes a treetop walk to quietly observe nature, and discovery paths through gardens, nest boxes, and beneficial insect gardens. A windmill, compost bays and an interactive kitchen garden provides fresh produce for the centre’s kitchen, while there are also many smaller spaces and the sensory components of the garden to support the holistic development of children.
Commended services in the preschool category were:
- McMahon’s Point Community Preschool – Fiona Robbé Landscape Architects
- HVGS ELC Adventure Playground – Hunter Valley Grammar School and Paynter Dixon
The highly commended service in this category was KU Peter Pan Paddington Preschool Playspace – The Gardenmakers, which saw a “tired, synthetic playground” replaced by distinct play zones with well-placed elements for the children to explore and enjoy.
In the Long Day Care category, the following services were commended:
- Meela Childcare Centre – Childscapes
- Little Flyers Childcare – NT Sports and Playgrounds and Urban Place Design
Cheltenham Early Education Centre Playspace – The Gardenmakers were highly commended in this category, with judges praising the efforts of the designer to turn a “beautiful, but neglected, heritage church” into a welcoming space for children, staff and families.
“The once overgrown garden now includes a natural playspace with a variety of play experiences under the shade of existing Tallowwood trees. The design promotes curiosity through plenty of messy and risky play but also can radiate a sense of calm as children interact with nature,” judges said.
To see a comprehensive list of all Award winners, as well as photographs of the winning and commended spaces, please see here.