The Junction Public School Playground
Differentiated play for all students and all abilities
The school was looking for an active fitness obstacle course which included a mix of nature play and formal equipment, natural mulch softfall, and a tower in the treetops, but also access for a student with a severe physical disability. The wishlist provided by the P&C seemed impossible, but Timber Creations delivered, and the students are thrilled!
The first eye-catching feature of the playground is a large tower lookout deck, with ramp and cargo net climbing access to the top, and a cubby section underneath. The soft rope has a great tactile texture which makes it beautiful to sit and lie on as well as climb, and the steep climbing ramp is a fun physical challenge that can be used in several ways.
Underneath the deck is a wheelchair accessible cubby, with many small carvings on the poles for discovery and sensory play. While open and easy to supervise, this cubby area feels private and cosy, due to the surrounding equipment and tree canopy. Students can access from the main obstacle trail or over the beautiful, curved bridge that leads out through the retaining wall.
Encouraging kids to get moving and challenge their fitness is a non-prescriptive nature play parkour area, with balancing logs, branches, climbing totems, stilts and gym rings to conquer. There is also more formal fitness equipment, such as sit-up benches, for more directed learning.
The new playspace is connected to an existing older playground area by a rope crossing challenge. While this piece looks simple and enticing, it is definitely a work out – especially for older children with more weight to stretch the rope back and forth! Secretly a hands on lesson in physics with weight distribution and social coordination, this play element is one of the most popular of all time!
Access paths have been left around the space to ensure students with wheelchairs can move around and through the space, and several engravings, which can be reached from a seated position, have been included for tactile and discovery play.
Students with autism and sensory processing disorders can more easily use this new playspace with its natural textures and colours, and many sensory, tactile features to explore. The under deck cubby and log branches surrounding the trees provide a peaceful feeling and a place to relax away from the main active play elements.
Natural log obstacle trail to climb over, under, and through, balance, jump and explore
Large deck platform with cubby underneath
Wheelchair accessible bridge and discovery trails
Balancing stilts with natural textured knots and knobs to hold
Rope crossing to existing playground
Playground design, equipment and natural elements by Andrew Smith Timber Creations