Nature playground takes centre stage at Banksia Grove childcare centre

MercyCare Banksia Grove Early Learning Centre manager Kelley Meyn with Payton (5) enjoying the new nature play playground. Picture supplied
MercyCare Banksia Grove Early Learning Centre manager Kelley Meyn with Payton (5) enjoying the new nature play playground. Picture supplied

A CHILDCARE provider built its biggest nature playground at a new centre in Banksia Grove in response to parents’ desire to give children a sense of adventure in their everyday lives.

MercyCare’s Banksia Grove Early Learning Centre, which opened in November, features 700sq m of landscaped play area, overlooked by each room’s floor-to-ceiling glass windows and doors.

The play space with forts, log ladders, a rope climbing frame, balance beams and a water play area was designed to foster children’s natural curiosity and encourage their imaginative play.

The project team behind the centre incorporated elements to encourage children to challenge themselves and explore their limits, inspired by the positive response to a similar 350sq m playground built at organisation’s Ellenbrook centre.

MercyCare early learning services operations manager Rosina Smith said once parents started visiting the Ellenbrook centre, educators found many were keen to provide their children with more opportunities to explore the outside world.

“Many parents were looking for opportunities to encourage their children’s sense of adventure,” she said.

“Children at the Ellenbrook centre have experienced the many benefits of nature play, such as the development of gross-motor skills, learning how to negotiate risk and problem solve.

“This motivated us to be even more adventurous in the playground design for Banksia Grove.”

MercyCare Banksia Grove Early Learning Centre manager Kelley Meyn with Payton (5).

Banksia Grove centre manager Kelly Meyn said children had been drawn to the outside area as their parents toured the centre.

“Parents are really excited about the opportunities for open-ended play that the play space provides,” she said.

“It’s really amazing to watch children problem solving and exploring their limits within their environment.

“Families are already enjoying our flexible care arrangements, and our willingness to listen and provide care that is an extension of their own homes.”

The centre is located in the Banksia Grove Village shopping area.