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New playground showcases best of the great outdoors

Goodstart centres

A $150,000 upgrade that “looks more like a park” than a playground to the children of Goodstart Alfred Cove has opened.

The centre upgrade features new sandpits, climbing equipment, a yarning circle, stepping stones and water play areas.

Centre director Lorraine Knight said the children were very excited about their new “park”.

“From start to finish it’s taken about six weeks for the work to be done, so the children are really loving their new play area and can’t wait to get out there,” Ms Knight said.

“We had garden beds and lots of tyres before so now it’s a lot more open and spacious for the children to run around in.”

The centre’s six year old rabbit Alfie now has his own special hutch built into one of the side fences, while the nursery area has a new veranda and plenty of native trees.  The well-shaded playground is divided into two large areas, each with their own natural features.

“The families can really see a big change in the centre so it’s really nice to be able to share the upgrade with them,” Ms Knight said.

Outdoor spaces provide great opportunities for children to explore, and take on challenges to test their skills and abilities that they may not be offered indoors.

They allow children to run, jump and skip which helps with gross motor skills, balance, hand-eye coordination and concentration. It helps increase their flexibility and develops muscle strength and promotes social and emotional development by allowing them to invent games and express themselves.

Outdoor play also gives educators an opportunity to use nature to introduce children to concepts such as problem-solving, language, science and caring for the environment.
Parenting website Raising Children Network says it’s a good idea to encourage children to play outside several times a day – including letting them come up with their own games, helping in the garden or even just enjoying tummy time.

Goodstart Early Learning is Australia’s largest social enterprise and is committed to investing back into its early learning centres, people and programs to support children and their families.  
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