Natural elements the feature of Estella renovations
Children and educators have benefited from a $275 000 upgrade at Goodstart Estella
which features natural elements and many new spaces for curious young minds to explore.
The centre’s large outdoor space was completely reconstructed which has created many new opportunities for children to be creative, explore and build on their learnings.
By featuring more natural elements and textures, the outdoor area is now less structured and encourages children to use their imagination and be more social.
The backyard includes a sunken sandpit, Indigenous yarning circle, a mud kitchen for sensory play and a tepee where children can go in small groups for quieter activities.
“The natural elements, colours and fresh air brings a calmness to the group and there’s opportunities for them to climb, jump and develop their motor skills through spontaneous play,” centre director Danielle Lange said.
“The old backyard was much more structured and man-made but by incorporating nature and loose parts, we find we get out much less equipment for the children now as they are exploring and creating their own experiences.
“Loose, natural things encourage children to count, sort, investigate and socialise. The new environment has driven a positive and noticeable change in behaviour.”
Inside the centre, the main features of the upgrade include converting the nursery and toddler rooms from a shared space into separate rooms, replacing old furniture, a new nappy change room, new paint and soon to be completed new flooring.
“We have continued a natural feeling inside with furniture and our choice of colours. The old rooms had too much colour and were overwhelming for both children and educators.
“The rooms now look and feel more homely and have a much calmer ambience about them.”
Incorporating natural elements and creating spaces for children to extend their learning were important aspects of the design process for Ms Lange and her team.
“The time we invested in designing the spaces has given us a great outcome for the children, families and educators at our centre.
“The last 12 months have been very exciting as each area was finished. Families have watched the progress closely and enjoyed seeing their children discover the new rooms and backyard.
“Overall, the centre now has a ‘wow factor’ which families comment on. It’s helping us provide better outcomes for children which is the best result we could have hoped for.”