Friday, 10 October 2014

Outdoor Play Party - Visit to Kylemore N.S.

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Last week all the nursery staff went to visit another nursery in Coleraine. We hope to make visits like this part of our CPD this year & having been lucky enough to visit settings around the world, I know the long reaching benefits such visits can have. 
Kylemore N.S was established in 1976, so it is among the first purpose built nursery schools in N. Ireland. I love visiting older, more established settings as they always have a wealth of resources built up over the past years and Kylemore is no exception. We were particularly interested in visiting the outdoor spaces but spent some time indoors too of course. The principal is a good friend of mine, Marian McCouaig & we had travelled over to Derby in July to visit nurseries & I had visited Kylemore last year with staff & governors from Alfreton N.S in Derby, so I knew there was a lot for us to see here.
Kylemore has an amazing outdoor space, it is divided up into 3 distinct areas & one is currently under repair. The main playground that the classes were playing in the afternoon we visited is probably bigger than our whole space & even within this mainly tarmaced space there are little natural parts to soften it all. A small grassy, sloped area runs along the back of the playground & there is a lovely willow den built on this slope & incorporating some steps. 



The large enclosed sand pit area with the steps up into the willow on the LHS.
They are lucky to have a big enclosed sand pit in one corner, this is one of the biggest I've seen in any nursery & offered enough space for lots of children to be in it at the same time, with pulleys & diggers etc. 
In the middle of the playground children had made an obstacle course with bread & shopping crates & all around there were lots of planters full of vegetables. 
When we visited there were around 52 children on site & yet it never seemed noisy or chaotic as they operate a free flow system so they were never all in the one space at the same time. However, they don't have a covered area at all, so if it is raining it would be impossible for them to be outside without all the children getting very wet.
Closed off from this main area was another space that used to have a large slide & climbing frame but this had come to the end of it's life & is not going to be replaced with traditional fixed equipment, I can't wait to revisit in a year or so & see what they have put in it's place. Around this area was a fenced in pond & lovely meandering path way under some trees. They are very lucky to have lots of mature trees all around the site.


The best part, in my opinion, was another area were they have bark chips & trees & an amazing willow den, that a whole class can sit inside for stories. Marian is lucky enough to have an amazing caretaker who took time over the summer to weave in all the new growth to make this willow den look very lush even in October.


In this more natural 'forest area' they have also built a permanent fire circle for their Haba fire grill & I loved the use of a red top for a lid!

This part of the playground felt so different to the main part & was so quiet, with all the tress that were around. I think I would spend most of my time over in this space, there were quirky little additions on the fence - lids that could be painted on etc.


The best element of the nursery's outdoor space that the children were using lots of 'free or found' items to enhance their play & it felt like a space children are allowed to just 'be' rather than a pristine adult planned space.


My featured post from last OPP was from Catherine over at Adventure Togs on why playing in nature is so important for children.

  • Any kind of children's outdoor play-related posts are welcome!


  • We'd appreciate it if you included a link back to this post (either in your post or sidebar) to help us spread the word about the importance (and fun!) of outdoor play! In return, we'll gladly further share your post on FacebookTwitterPinterestPlease feel free to grab the Outdoor Play Party button from the sidebar and/or include a text link back. Please note that by contributing you are giving permission for an image and link to your post to be republished if featured.(If you have been featured, please feel free to grab the 'featured' button from the sidebar.) Share your ideas for outdoor play activities with us every other week!


    10 comments:

    1. What a wonderful outdoor space and like you I am totally taken with the Willow den. It reminds me a little of the makeshift seats we have in the fairy garden for story telling too. This Nursery is full of inspiration, I will be pinning that Willow den.

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      1. Isn't the den just magical? I really wish I had space for one this big. Thanks for the lovley comment & supporting the OPP - was away at the weekend so apologies for missing #countrykids.

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    2. So great to visit other centres, meet people and get new ideas and ways of doing things. That's why I love visiting your site too!

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      1. Aww thanks, what a lovely thing to say.

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    3. I love the 'recycled' and use of equipment in your play space. It shows that everything doesn't have to be all sparkly and shop bought for a play environment to be good.
      A brilliant play space that looks lots of fun!

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      1. It had such a lovely 'lived in' feel Kim & it is obviously well used by the children.

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    4. Love this outdoor space, the enclosed sandpit area is amazing. However, like you I also love the willow den, very jealous!

      Thanks for hosting.

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      1. I really, really want that willow den so much!

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    5. Outdoor parties are quite good if you have invited very few people, if there is a big list of guest I never recommend an outdoor party, there are a lot of chances of rain. Well I always prefer best event space nyc for my parties.

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    6. If you want to explore and rent a space for an event then Eventup is really genuine and best website for you. You can choose any cheap as well as good venue according to your requirements here. Hope it helps.

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