MercyCare / News / Mud café now open at Thornlie ELC

Mud café now open at Thornlie ELC

Thornlie Early Learning Centre’s play space has been given a makeover, based on modern, nature-play principles.

Nature play is all about providing an environment for children that encourages risk taking, imagination, natural tactile investigation and interaction.

Thornlie’s outdoor area has been transformed with the addition of a mud café and fort allowing children to share and engage with each other in a loosely structured way.

Log edged sand pits and an open lawn area provide little ones with more flexible areas for children to play.

Large deciduous shade trees have been provided as a key feature that will provide shade in summer and small flowering native trees have also been used to give an extra splash of colour and interest.

Shrub and screening plants were chosen for both their sensory and hardiness characteristics to give the children stimulation through the senses of sight, smell and touch while standing up to any physical interactions they may encounter.

The new features of the play space have not only been warmly welcomed by the children at the centre who have been making the most of them, but they’ve also been well received by staff and parents.

Work is almost complete on similar upgrades to the play area at Heathridge Early Learning Centre and Bedford Early Learning Centre’s space is set to be transformed in coming weeks.


Did you know:

  • Children who spend more time outside tend to be more physically active and less likely to be overweight.
  • Children who play in natural settings are more resistant to stress; have lower incidence of behavioural disorders, anxiety and depression; and have a higher measure of self-worth.
  • Children who play in natural settings play in more diverse, imaginative and creative ways and show improved language and collaboration skills. Single use, repetitive play equipment becomes boring quickly.
  • Natural, irregular and challenging spaces help kids learn to recognise, assess and negotiate risk and build confidence and competence.


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