Outdoor Play and Child Development

Outdoor Play is one of the most important building blocks for a child’s emotional, social and physical development and this has been at the forefront of our building plans for Nurture and Nature Sandton. The preschool is situated in the Leonardo upmarket lifestyle building, that stands 55 stories high and rises some 234 meters above Sandton. Having a preschool inside a lifestyle building, certainly had its challenges. We required a large enough outdoor area for our children to play, especially considering that our school will be on the 5th floor of The Leonardo building. With over 300 square metres in outdoor space we set hard at work planning and mapping out the grounds to allow for the most movement and flexibility for our little ones.  

The equipment was specifically designed and carefully chosen to optimise development and growth for the children at Nurture and Nature Montessori. “Working closely with Occupational Therapists, teachers and various other educational specialists the equipment was formulated to ensure vital development of fine and gross motor skills as well as setting the grounds and ongoing journey, encouraging our children to becoming more independent.” Says Lee-Anne Myerson, founder of Nurture & Nature Montessori and Sandton principal.

By encouraging focused movements such as gripping and reaching, as well as general movements such as running and crawling, children learn key skills in a fun and enjoyable environment. The Monkey Bars offer developmental and play value that will enhance a solid sense of body position, assist with pincer grip, develop hand and finger muscles as well as build muscle tone and strength.

A child’s core and upper body strength is also improved and contributes to their vestibular stimulation, our Slide and Climbing ropes adds to a child’s grip strength and allows for free play. The Climbing Frame allows for vigorous movement, spacial awareness, strength and new experiences. “Another popular piece of equipment at our other preschools is the Balancing bridge and nets, the children enjoy the climbing experience which refines balance and control engaging and activating specific muscle groups to build upper body strength.” Says Pam Schreiber, co-owner and Douglasdale principal.

Children have a lot of energy and creativity, and so they need the space and equipment to use up this energy. They can become stressed or moody if they don’t have an area to run and play, which is where outdoor play comes in. The Bike Track allows for free movement and co-ordination, timing and planning as well as social and life skills. The outdoor area also has a Multi-purpose sports field, allowing an early introduction to sport, encouraging hand eye co-ordination, teamwork and builds positive self-esteem and confidence.

“We have included a unique Astro tunnel, that brings another layer and adds contours to the outdoor area. This variety of dimension works hand in hand with gross motor skills and judgement when manoeuvring. We are most excited about the Astro tunnel and are sure that it will be a favourite amongst the children.” Adds Schreiber.

“Kids are naturally drawn to play outside, and so we have put a lot of attention into transforming this space into a fun, interactive and open area, we have even included trees that will make up the boarders of the playground, making it as natural as possible where children can get fresh air and explore their environment.” Ends Myerson.

Enrolments for Nurture and Nature @ The Leonardo are now open, please email sandton@nurtureandnature.co.za for more information.