5 minute read.
Despite the fact that some early childhood experts estimate that children attending ECCs spend up to 40% of their time outdoors, playgrounds and outdoor spaces are often an afterthought. Subsequently, they are placed on the back-burner in many new centre developments.
Read on to discover the 5 most compelling reasons why you should consider putting a Playground Makeover at the top of your to-do list.
Reason #1: Become A Centre Of Gravity – Attract More Visitors
It has become fairly commonplace that ECEs lose their local visitors due to competing centres that offer new, modern and overall, more attractive playgrounds.
The thinking behind this decision for families is often attributed to their preference of sending their children to a more safe, well-equipped and tidy playground.
To survive in a competitive market, it’s vital to embrace new ways of doing things and delivering on the needs of your primary audiences. The design of your playground should be more than just functional and compliant – it should also be fun!
It needs to include the needs of both the children and the parents by curating an environment and space that fosters collaboration. You’ll then be sure to become a centre of gravity for your local community.
A playground makeover, without a doubt, can assist in attracting new families and visitors to your centre, sustaining and replenishing full-roll numbers.
Download our ECE Design and Build Guide – A comprehensive 30-page guide to building better outdoor playspaces.
Reason #2: Keeping Up With Compliance – Sustaining The Safety of Your Playground
It is becoming increasingly more evident to playground owners, that their playgrounds not only need be functional but even more importantly, compliant with New Zealand standards.
New Zealand playgrounds must be compliant with and practice adequate safety measures which are aligned with national legislative requirements, such as the NZ Playground Safety Standards andEducation (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008.
In the spotlight of this discussion, The Ministry of Education has publicly stated that any playgrounds under their umbrella of private and integrated schools, must comply to the standards of 24(1)(a) of the Education (Early Childhood Centres) Regulations 1998.
The Education Review Office has commented on those playgrounds that are under the process of being redesigned and confirmed, that the board must ensure that safe-fall materials are adequate and comply with New Zealand Safety Standards.
For those playgrounds that fall outside the education sector, the New Zealand Standard 5828:2004 is recognised as the industry ‘best practice’.
If your playground surfaces are not meeting the standard it is paramount that your Playground Makeover be underway!
Reason #3: Accelerate Child Development, Learning, and Well-being
In our increasingly, fast-paced and digitally-induced world, many societies are changing, ultimately affecting childhood experiences. Moreover, time for outdoor play has become increasingly deprioritised in the everyday routine of children, leading to more sedentary lifestyles and creating a disconnect from the natural world.
Caused by a growing common culture of fear, many parents avoid taking their children outdoors, in fear of accidents and injuries occurring during outdoor play. However, childhood play is pivotal to child development and there is a strong body of research that supports this speculation.
It is hardly possible to recreate the same stimuli in an indoor setting, to an outdoor setting and this can be attributed to a number of factors. The outdoors is a natural environment where children benefit from the exposure to natural elements, such as open air and sunlight, having a direct positive effect on their immune systems, and overall health and well-being.
In light of how outdoor play can not only benefit a child’s physical health, it can also leverage a child’s ability to think creatively and nurture other cognitive abilities, such as problem-solving skills through the reinvention of objects through the imagination, rather than the constant reliance on commercial toys.
Reason #4. Lower Maintenance – Wipe Out The Mud
Have you seen the state of a kindy classroom on a rainy day? A Playground Makeover can eliminate this classroom chaos by installing modern surfacing. Surfaces like wet pour rubber or modern turf (which looks super realistic,) can help you completely avoid mud on a rainy day.
Not to mention, there is a whole lot of maintenance required with real grass; modern playground turf feels and looks like real grass, just without the painstaking task of maintenance and mowing.
If you’re stuck in a rut with mud issues, it’s definitely time to consider a playground makeover.
Reason #5. Nurture Your Staff – Improve Working Environments
Consider the needs of your staff; nurture the nurturers, after all, it’s ECE teachers that keep your operations humming.
If you’re able to install a solution that meets the needs of your nurturers, taking away their time spent on tasks that have no remote correlation to their role as educators, then it’s really a no-brainer to go ahead, isn’t it?
Well-designed playgrounds consider important cues for your staff, such as the visibility of children, potential risk areas, storage needs, and general traffic flow, making managing children and play equipment time, a seamless task for ECE teachers.