Monday, May 11, 2015


Tim Gill is one of the UK’s leading thinkers on childhood, and an effective advocate for positive change in children’s everyday lives. This video and the below graphic are from Tim Gill's Twitter page:  Gill is talking about older children having the freedom to be part of the wider community.  As he said the issues around this are complex and I wonder if one of the issues is risk aversion.  Are we cotton wooling children to the degree that they would not be able to cope at the age of 6 or 7 to explore their community? Have they been given the opportunity to make decisions about their play, learn from mistakes, set their own challenges and goals and move into a backyard that is exciting and supportive of them as learners?
Children need to have access to outdoor spaces.  This is an important issue for childcare.  All to often children are unable to freely move between inside and outside spaces due to the ratios within our centres or gates that need a teacher to open them - as the photos show for the St Peters Centre in the last post.  Teachers need to be reflective about their practice and they need to be the advocates for children to ensure that they get the care and education they deserve 100% of the time, not just on the good days when our ratios are better or for that hour that is between morning tea and lunch when we can manage to have the doors open.   Gill talks about the children's shrinking horizons - are we adding to this in ECE by actually reducing children's opportunities to have the freedom to explore even in our  backyard.
Outdoor play and the importance of risk and challenge for children would make a wonderful basis for an action research question for centres who are thinking about providing the best opportunities for children to become thinkers and learners within an environment that supports their innate curiosity. 

Monday, May 4, 2015

Interesting spaces

In our previous post we asked for photos of interesting spaces since New Zealand now has the reputation of, "having overtaken Sweden and Norway as the most innovative designer of children’s spaces in the world. "

If you have photos that you would like to share of indoor or outdoor spaces please let us know - you can email us with your photos and blurbs at

               St Peters Childcare's interesting space

This was the beginning of the journey to transform an outdoor area into a back yard.

Here are a series of photos that show how children add life to a centre.  This centre initially had many gated off areas separating the up to 2's and the over 2's.  Over time the gates were removed creating an open space allowing all children to move freely between the indoors and the backyard.

The willow archway was created with smooth wooden pavers leading to the sandpit.  But alongside that a trickier path of boulders helps to keep stretching children's learning as they attempt to move over the uneven surface.

The plants - mostly edible - have softened the landscape and created a homely backyard rather than an outdoor space.

A crab apple tree forms shade, food and a place to hang a swinging chair.