Our "kids-first" approach
Most public children’s gardens around the world have enlisted the energy, ideas, suggestions and optimism of children in the early stages of planning and design.
Involving children in the design process gives them the opportunity to express what is important to them. This leads to:
- outcomes that meet children’s needs and aspirations,
- better decision-making, as children can offer their expertise on what matters to them; and
- thematic ideas for the garden as children are immersed in the culture of childhood, their direct ideas can be more current, refreshing and relevant than adult ideas of what themes children should have.
Children are very capable of talking about their views and feelings regarding the design of their environment.
In the development stage of The Ian Potter Children's Wild Play Garden, Centennial Parklands consulted with children because it is valid as a process, and it is important to provide outcomes in the built environment where children have been included as valued members of the community.
What was the response?
“I love the idea” was the overwhelming response from 94% of people when consulted about a Children’s Wild Play Garden for Centennial Park.
In addition, over 100 influential community stakeholders were consulted, including seven from the Centennial Parklands Community Consultative Committee, 44 from Centennial Parklands Foundation, children and staff from eight schools and 28 people from key community groups, including the following:
- Association for Disability NSW
- Australian Association of Environmental Educators
- City of Sydney Youth Services
- NSW Early Childhood Environmental Education Network
- Planning Institute of Australia
- Sydney Children’s Hospital
- Sydney for Under Fives
- Sydney University
- Touched by Olivia Foundation
- UNSW Faculty of the Built Environment
- Ways Youth Services
From this pool of magnificent ideas a blueprint was created for the Children's Wild Play Garden in Centennial Park as part of the Centennial Park Master Plan 2040. This blueprint has been costed and approved by the Centennial Park and Moore Park Trust subject to funding.