The most successful natural playground designs result from a collaborative effort involving school administration and teaching staff, parents, the local community, and advice and direction from the school board.
We work collaboratively with the stakeholders of each project, often engaging in visioning exercises with the teachers and children to help develop excitement and to help identify opportunities and possible constraints that only the existing users of the space are aware of.
Our expertise stems from our ability to combine this ‘vision’ with our knowledge, experience, and understanding of creative play, the natural environment, the art of design, landscape construction, and playground safety regulations.
Safety concerns and issues must be the highest priority throughout the playground planning and development process.
2) Age Appropriateness
In the playground planning process, it is important to determine the age of the playground users. Preschool (ages 2-5) and school age children (ages 5-12) differ dramatically not only in physical size and ability but also in their problem-solving and social skills. As a result, children aged 2-5 are not safe on playgrounds designed for children aged 5-12. The playground design process needs to address these differences by developing a design that is age appropriate in regard to the type, scale, and layout of play features.
Maintenance must also be considered in all phases of the playground planning and development process. If proper design is the key to developing an effective playground, then routine and preventive maintenance is the key to keeping it that way.
All children have a need to play, and diverse play opportunities are a key to both a quality play experience and the integration of all children. An accessible play experience provides diversity in both the physical and social environment and an opportunity to the child to make choices, take on challenges, learn, and have fun.