Design for pre-school enhances natural features

Date completed: November 2017
Location: Bishop Cornish
Sectors worked with: Education
Play types encouraged:

Exploratory play

Exploratory play icon

This happens when children decide to investigate their physical surroundings, exploring new spaces and ‘ranging’. What they require are places that provide spatial diversity and interest, opportunities to move into unknown territory and environments that stimulate their curiosity and imagination.

Imaginative play

Imaginative play icon

Playing pretend allows children to stretch their imaginations, create their own worlds and explore real life situations in ways that are manageable for their stage of development. They need flexible environments that they can adapt for their own purposes and which stimulate all the senses.

Quiet play

Quiet play icon

We all need time and space to be still and relax. For children this time is vital for integrating the many sensory impressions they encounter throughout the day. Quiet play allows them to rest, dream and refuel their brains and bodies. They need spaces that feel safe, comfortable and contained.

Social play

Social play icon

Making friends, sharing stories, learning the rules of a new game - children are social beings and play is a perfect way to learn about yourself and other people. In social play children can explore relationship dynamics and learn how to express their needs, establish boundaries and resolve differences.

Physical play

Physical play icon

Children’s minds and bodies grow in relation to their physical environment and require experimentation and challenge to reach their full potential. Physical play helps children understand what their bodies are capable of and allows them to take the necessary risks required for healthy development.

Loose Parts play

Loose Parts play icon

Banging on pots, making mud pies, building dens – these activities teach children about the physical and textural qualities of materials and how different elements fit together. Loose parts play offers sensory pleasure as well as developing hand eye coordination and problem solving skills.

Background: The teachers at Bishop Cornish Preschool in Saltash strongly believe in the importance of nature-based play. Looking for ways to encourage more outdoor play and forest school activity in their grounds their lead teacher asked us to design a play space that would offer varied, challenging and stimulating play experience.

The Design: The site already had some great features – a woodland area and small hills – which we were able to enhance with natural structures. A brushwood tunnel leading from the woodland to an open space allows children to explore the sensation of going ‘underground’ and moving between different environments. Crossing the challenging troll bridge above or using the whispering tube to speak to someone they cannot see – all help to develop their spatial awareness. The brushwood itself becomes a habitat for small creatures offering children the opportunity to get up close with local wildlife.

We chose Earth Wrights because we believe in them and their product.
The play area they have come up with for us will challenge and excite children at our setting for many years to come. The men on site were fantastic, really friendly and quite happy to share the progress of the project with our children.
Throughout the whole project we have been nothing but pleased with the standard of the work and the ethic and vision of all involved. Thank you, Earth Wrights, you have made our ideas into an exciting reality!

Vicky Oakes, Bishops Cornish

Using the landscape

Rounding the hills made them even better for rolling down and strategically placed log structures encourage climbing and balancing. Children can use the water pump placed at the top of a hill to pump water along a rocky stream bed which leads down to a muddy hollow with a mud kitchen where you can make some mud pies after a hard day’s play.

They were so pleased with the results they invited us back to do the front garden as well.

Cycle through our other playscapes