New playground for Central School

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The ribbon had barely touched the ground as children from Nelson Central School clambered onto their new playground which opened last Thursday.

Landscape Architect, Guy Redmond, designed the junior playground as a way to merge play with learning and nature.

“This playground seeks to arouse the curiosity, wonder, fun and physical challenges necessary to nurture freedom, self-confidence, and respect for others.” Guy says.

Funding for the playground had been secured through the Canterbury Community Trust, the Board of Trustees and cookbook sales from the Nelson Central School Community Group.

“We worked  closely with the community group to design features specifically chosen to encourage group play and group activities.” Guy says.

Guy has worked with over 400 schools in the United Kingdon and New Zealand developing landscapes and playgrounds for over 20 years. He is currently redesigning the Oamaru public gardens.

“ultimately, the themes are the same: co operation, exploration, physical challenge, sensory engagement, and acres of fun!”

Parts of the playground  have been recycled from the old playground including the flying fox and slide. The tunnel is a pipe from the Christchurch rebuild and the artificial grass is New Zealand made to resist light rays.

Guy says he has put most of the funding back into the region to support the local economy.

New entrant and year one teacher, Tracy Watkin, says the junior playground has not only met the needs of the younger students. The older students have dedicated time to play on it too.

She says the students have been using part of the playground as a pretend shop and puppet theatre. She was surprised at how innovative some of the students had been with their play.

“They’ve use it in ways we never have thought they would.”