Since 2013 the prospect of creating Sydney’s very first children’s wild play garden has excited many. The prospect is now rapidly becoming a reality with the support of The Ian Potter Foundation and many members of the community.
Before we give you a sneak peek of what we are creating, let’s start with the background.
“If children lose contact with nature, they won’t fight for it” – George Monbiot
What is ‘Wild Play’?
“Wild Play” sounds like a scary proposition, however studies have shown that children who engage in this type of play-making in a natural environmental setting experience great benefits in terms of increased self esteem, they display more creativity, have better logic and problem-solving skills.
There are many benefits of outdoor play, or as we like to call it “Wild Play”, including:
- allowing children independent freedom for exploration and discovery is important for development.
- children participate in more physical play when outdoors than indoors. There is a proven increase in motor fitness and development in outdoor play spaces.
- nature play has also shown numerous proven mental health benefits.
- nature play constitutes a vital role in health and wellbeing.
- contact with nature increases self-esteem and enhances school performance.
- studies have shown that contact with nature reduces attention deficit disorder symptoms.
- studies have also linked outdoor play with improved behaviour and less anxiety and depression.
The Ian Potter Children’s Wild Play Garden
“This new garden will offer a wide range of nature-based learning opportunities for children and families, and greatly enhance and build the capacity of Centennial Park’s existing education programs.” – Janet Hirst, Chief Executive Officer of The Ian Potter Foundation.
Since generously providing $1.5 million in 2014, The Ian Potter Foundation has enabled this vision to become a reality. The Garden will provide an outdoor learning experience for children aged 2-12, of all abilities and backgrounds, enabling a ‘whole-of-life’ approach to education.
Extensive consultation was undertaken with children, schools, during the Centennial Park Master Plan 2040 and with a range of stakeholders (including: Association for Disability NSW, Australian Association of Environmental Educators, Kidsafe, Planning Institute of Australia, Touched by Olivia Foundation and UNSW Faculty of the Built Environment).
Now, the big reveal!
Working with ASPECT Studios, we have arrived at a final design for the Garden. While you can see the full detail and design plan on the Centennial Parklands website, here are some design elements that we will be creating:
Want to see and learn more?
Head to the Centennial Parklands website for the detailed design, background planning and even more design elements that we will be creating over the coming year.
And it’s not too late to support us – we are still seeking donations to help finalise the project and ensure we can create the Garden in full. Donate now.