When Just Kidz needed a playspace designed and built for their newest early learning centre at Flat Bush, they weren’t completely sure how to approach the project. Just Kidz’s Operations Manager, Vanessa Henry, says they were looking for something special. A company who could provide a quality product and finish, as well as design. “We were looking for an innovative playground, with aesthetic appeal and great functionality for children to gain maximum benefit.”
In the past, they had worked with traditional playground surfacing companies to create their outdoor areas. But some of these companies’ products hadn’t lasted well and the team at Just Kidz felt that the surfaces and designs lacked imagination.
Just Kidz’ Director, Gavin Muldoon, had previously worked with Numat, Creo’s parent company, and felt that the company was the only one who had delivered the level of quality they needed. Given that the Creo team was able to develop the playground designs and Numat provide the key products, Vanessa and Gavin were confident they were heading in the right direction and that Creo and Numat could deliver the playspace they wanted and envisioned.
“We were very impressed with plans drawn up by the design team, Creo. The products were clearly high quality and careful thought and creativity had gone into the project. We were able to add to the plan and adjust it to suit our preference and the design team easily incorporated our ideas,” says Vanessa.
Due to the project being a new build, Just Kidz wanted the outdoor area to complement the new buildings on the site. These were open, modern and stylish, so it was important that the outdoor areas continued this feel, working with the indoor space to allow for a seamless transition and for full utilisation of the available space.
Furthermore, Vanessa and her team also wanted to beautify the space by incorporating natural elements whilst offering challenges, space and areas of interest for children to explore and discover.
From a design perspective, this was great news, as it allowed the design team to focus on creating a space that integrated natural play opportunities, sensory areas, challenge, and experimental play, with hard-wearing flexible use areas.
The Creo design team worked with Just Kidz from the initial concept process, then oversaw the construction of the design which took around eight weeks.
The Centre now has two areas, one that is designated for children aged between 0 to 2 years, and the other that caters for older children aged 2 to 5 years. While separate, the two spaces allow for good visual connection between the two age groups. Both areas have large covered spaces to accommodate play in any weather condition, and surfaces are comprised of Numat Pour’n’Play and artificial turf, which are ideal for toddlers learning to walk as well as for older children running around.
Vanessa says that “the areas are totally age appropriate and enable children to choose and discover as their interest takes them. It also allows flexibility in manipulating some of the larger additional structures that were purchased such as the boxes and climbing apparatus so that the teachers can further respond to children’s needs and interests.”
Although the playground only recently opened, there has been overwhelmingly positive feedback from everyone, from staff, parents, and visitors, but most importantly, from the children, who, “clearly love being in this space and explore fully each day,” according to Vanessa.
Vanessa says the playground is “a wonderful, open space that promotes visibility and safety,” and is another step forward on Just Kidz’s mission to grow and “continue to develop beautiful, high-quality centres that can serve our communities.”
February 7, 2018
Early Learning Centre