In 2008 the local childcare committee recruited specialist childcare architect Mark Dudek to turn an inaccessible storage yard into a new children’s play garden. Partly funded by the EU Peace and Reconciliation Fund, the project has completely transformed the experience of play for children their parents and carers. Working within a tight budget, the project has benefitted from gift labour and extensive community support throughout its construction. The project illustrates that with a little funding, a children’s environment can be completely transformed.
The building itself was an old nineteenth century school hall which despite its rural location, had no direct access to the external areas. Once outside, the children were faced with the daunting prospect of an asphalt yard surrounded by high brick walls. The landscape was softened with new colours, textures and areas of cultivation. To create a diverse learning environment, an off the peg piece of climbing equipment was specified as a centre piece and focus for the main space. However it was also important to provide other areas for small group play, around the edges of the yard, which was quiet and contemplative. These areas have become the children’s favourite places.
Discovering Kids Playgroup