The magnificent rooftop garden and playground at local Kindergarten and Childcare Centre, Platypus Junction Mulgrave has recently been awarded Gold and the Best in Category Award at the National Landscape Design Awards. The Australian Institute of Landscape Designers and Managers (AILDM) judged Botanical Traditions the winner in the Educational Play-space category.
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 to 4-year-old kindergarten.
In the rooftop green space, 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.
Platypus Junction Owner, Dale Pearce, was originally inspired to create a space like this for children by a lush rooftop garden he had seen travelling in England. Dale said, “it’s fulfilling seeing the garden bloom from an idea to reality, made possible by Ruth and her team.”
The garden 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 stories or quiet time, and climbing equipment, paths and bikes encourage active play. With a philosophy of learning through play, there are numerous spaces for imaginative games and role-playing, along with art and craft activities, and butterfly hatching.
Felicity Hall from the Platypus Junction Group explained, “We are so proud that our garden was rewarded. Being acknowledged for our commitment to supporting early learning and the environment we can create for children to flourish, is pretty special in our eyes. The children love coming up here and picking apples, riding bikes, playing in the cubby and enjoying their oasis. Ruth and her team, in collaboration with Dale Pearce did a wonderful job. We’re so pleased Ruth has been recognised by her peers and the industry.”
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.