Rainy days are looked forward to by the children at SPK now that their new raingarden area – complete with natural ‘creek bed’, hand pumps and tea-tree branch cubby house – are in action.
The raingarden uses a mix of soils and rocks, the natural landscape fall, rain water tanks and indigenous and native plantings to move, collect and use rain water from the kinder grounds and roof.
While the kinder reaps the benefits of collecting and using rain water sustainably to maintain plantings, avoid excessive water run-off and flush toilets – the children are exploring and learning from the natural play space.
“We could see advantages in the raingarden far beyond the rainwater use and aesthetic improvement to the kinder,” says Summerhill Park Kindergarten Director Georgie Favaro.
“While the kinder has put a lot of thought into the planning and design of the rain garden, its biggest attraction has been the open-ended play opportunities.
“From the start the raingarden has brought the children together. They’re negotiating who takes turns at the pump or collects water in buckets, sharing new discoveries with water, role playing with the cubby house, and being active in an unstructured outdoor environment.”
The raingarden was made possible through the hard work of kindergarten parent volunteer Suzie Hotchin, based on a design by landscaper Ryan Young and a grant from the State Government of Victoria.
It features plantings indigenous to the local area as well as bush tucker plants, two rain water pumps, a rain water garden to capture water runoff from the area, recycled timbers, tree stumps and rocks and a tea-tree branch clad cubby house – encouraging a wide range of vigorous and reflective spaces for outdoor play and learning.