Recently awarded Gold at the National Landscape Design Awards, Platypus Junction Mulgrave, a local kindergarten and childcare centre, is a shining example of nature-based-play design at its best.
Botanical Traditions was awarded the Gold and Best in Category in the Educational Playspace category by the Institute of Landscape Designers and Managers (AILDM) at the National Landscape Design Awards in September, for their magnificent rooftop garden and playground at Platypus Junction centre in Mulgrave.
Ruth Czermak of Botanical Traditions said, “We are honoured to receive this award for our rooftop playground and garden. Our goal was to provide an inspirational space to encourage children's growth through play and experience with nature.”
Platypus Junction Mulgrave is at the forefront of early childhood education. The entire centre has been designed to trigger imagination and engage curious minds to support the development of babies up to 4-year-olds.
In the rooftop greenspace, children can interact with nature in an urban environment – including growing their own edible plants, tending to the garden, playing in the sand pit and enjoying water-play with hand-pumps and totem poles that spray a water mist. The garden features apple trees, olives trees, a variety of herbs, strawberries and lettuce when in season, combined with natives and flowering plants. A wisteria vine next to the sandpit provides shade and protection in summer and allows filtered sunshine in winter.
The space has been created for exploration, inspiration and flexibility. Raised decking in the garden can become an imagined stage, seats and nooks hidden behind plants are perfect spots for a chat or quiet time, and climbing equipment, paths and bikes help relieve pent up energy. With a philosophy of learning through play, there are numerous spaces for made-up games and role-playing, along with art and craft activities, and butterfly hatching.
Felicity Hall from the Platypus Junction Group explained, “It’s easy to see why Botanical Traditions were named the winners, the space is a fabulous oasis. The children love coming up here and picking apples, riding bikes and playing in the cubby. Ruth and her team did a great job, we’re so pleased she has been recognised by her peers.”
Platypus Junction has teamed up with Botanical Traditions in the construction of another two centres with superb natural playgrounds in Croydon and Langwarrin. Perhaps more awards are on the cards.