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Hobbit houses, campfires and water walls are just a few of the fun outdoor learning activities kids can experience through the new Early Learning and Child Care (ELC) environments. from Argyll and Bute.
Willowview in Oban, run by Argyll and Bute Council, welcomed its first children this week.
The former day center and care home has been transformed by landscape architects commissioned by the town hall to create high-activity spaces; moments of silence; socialize; investigation; creativity; and natural.
To meet these specifications, the designers developed a “traditional” play space with a hard coating for carriers, scoring and ball games, water games, sensory planting and a “stage”. This is a self-contained area, but a path also leads through a quiet space and a green tunnel to a high-level ‘hidden garden’ with a playhouse, sandbox, slide and net. scrambling down to the lower level and a sheltered gazebo with rooftop views.
The outdoor setting also has a natural space that offers future use for forestry school activities. In addition to the large outdoor spaces, there is a partially covered inner courtyard that forms the parents’ entrance and a sensory relaxation area.
The board-appointed architects also designed an outdoor space in the existing ELC unit at Salen Primary, which maximizes the limited outdoor space available.
Relaxation areas have been developed as social spaces for scientific / experimental games, gardening, an outdoor classroom and sensory areas. The new area also has a “circuit” and a talking tube that connects the two early childhood gardens, as well as outdoor paintings, music, mirrors and a water wall.
The two new Middle English and Gaelic spaces will be completed this fall.
Education policy advisor Yvonne McNeilly said: “We have brought forgotten or neglected spaces to life and placed them at the heart of the learning of our youngest learners.
“These sustainable spaces provide a wealth of opportunities for intergenerational activities, enhancing community cohesion and helping us build inclusive and resilient communities while providing high quality CLS.
“I want to thank everyone involved for the tremendous effort they have put in over the years to get us to where we are today. I truly believe we are leading the way with outdoor education in Argyll and Bute, leading the way for our children and youth to get the best start in life. ‘