At the Village we believe that children should enjoy beautiful spaces that encourage them to interact with the natural world. We have endeavored to create aesthetically pleasing and inspiring playgrounds that are age appropriate and appeal to our children, the teachers who work in them and the families which make up our community.
Our Tots area has a variety of surfaces and textures including sand, a mound covered by long lush grass, boulders, native grasses, natural shade from our soft leafy green tree and a beautiful sea mosaic with 3 dimensional fish. This environment is designed to stimulate our infants’ senses and nurture their curiosity with plenty of room for interactions with other children and the use of play equipment. We believe it is essential that our infants and toddlers have an environment which is rich in natural challenge that provides them with the opportunity to develop and refine their physical capabilities.
As you enter our Explorers area you are guided down a wooden boardwalk which draws you in to the main building. In this area we have incorporated shell, sand, grass, wood shavings, boulders, rocks and grassy areas for exploration and play. The area is divided into outdoor rooms that flow from one to the next, this encourages our children to make purposeful choices about where they want to be within the environment. Our shell area, with its boat is entered from the board walk on large stepping stones through a series of bollards with thick rope. Equipped with driftwood for seats and mosaic fish table it reflects the ‘beachy’ feel of the Bay of Plenty. Our board walk is lined with rock gardens leading to a natural stone fountain which is a source of great interest, investigation and experimentation. Natural wind chimes and shell ropes hang from trees and mosaic dragonflies, butterflies and lizards hide amongst the rocks. Each room in our playground is a unique composition of texture, colour and sensory experience to inspire imaginative and enquiry based play. Each room also comes with its own set of challenges, places and features to sit in, different levels to provide for both privacy and views and natural ‘equipment’ such as drift-wood and stones encouraging children to set the stage for their own play.
The Preschool comes with its own gardens, worm farm and composting area with strong focus on nature and sustainability. Children actively participate in growing vegetables, recycling and compost making and there are a number of animals fostering a sense of care and responsibility for living things. A wild space has been developed into a discovery garden where paths lead through regenerating native trees, wild sown flowers and fruit trees. The discovery garden invites its own risks and challenges and in this area children are encouraged to make decisions and construct their own play. There are rocks to turn, insects to find, huts to build and trees that shout ‘climb me’ providing opportunities for creative problem solving and the development of a sense of wonder about the natural world. It is a rich learning environment with a hidden curriculum that speaks to children in a special way inviting learning about the natural environment through exploration, discovery and the power of their own imaginations.
We welcome visitors in these special places. If you would like to come and learn more about natural or play environments or just enjoy some time with us, please call to make an appointment.