The ‘landscape’ of our play space changes every day, responding to, and reflecting who is playing in the area each time. We dream, imagine and dawdle - together. We collaborate, negotiate, plan and experiment. We share and sometimes argue over finite resources – and then we resolve and ‘make up’ (BFF!); and we de-commission old cubbies in order to construct and make new ones – and all this…in a ‘day’s play’!
Our nature-cubby play space is a place where we can ‘get down’ into the garden and ‘brush’ with nature – our curiosity is peaked by all the plants, leaves, dirt, insects and bugs that we can spy on and learn more about. When we play here, we really do embody our school motto: ‘Growing, Discovering and Creating Together’.
The teachers’ support our cubby play area because they think it fosters collaborative, play-based learning and addresses a lot of ‘cross-curricular learning outcomes’ in, for example, Numeracy; Literacy; Design, Creativity and Technology; Civics and Citizenship; Personal Learning; Interpersonal Development; Thinking and The Arts.
But we, being kids, really just love the opportunity to ‘hang out’ with our friends in the garden: seeing, doing, imagining, making and playing together.
The idea behind the initiative was entirely student focussed with a view to enable children of all ages to come together and play creatively, and collaboratively, using a range of natural resources and materials.
Stage 1: Level 1 students’ were asked to design their ideal nature - cubby play-space. The children came up with many wonderful ideas and designs, all of which were ‘posted’ on the fence, next to the proposed play area, for people to look at and comment on.
Stage 2: Construction. Darren (Ground Maintenance) got to work levelling the ground, removing low lying branches and making the area safe for children to play. Dried bamboo poles were added, as a construction material.
Stage 3: In progress: A ‘dry river’ rock-bed, with a wooden bridge, will be situated at the entrance to the play area. This will add another ‘space’ for children to play; and will provide another natural material to engage the children’s imagination and creative process.
Stage 4: Big Picture: A possible collaboration with the ‘Eco-Cubby’ initiative (or similar) where a small group of interested students, Prep-L6, collaborate with an architect to design a school cubby house based on sustainable principles.
The Eco-Cubby project aims to raise awareness of sustainability issues through design thinking, bringing both to the forefront of young minds and imaginations throughout our communities. Children of all ages are encouraged to work with their families, friends and the community in developing their vision of a cubby embracing concepts of sustainable living: function, material, shelter, enclosure, and resources.
URL site = http://www.eco-cubby.com/