THEY have given us the very best in engineering – and now German ingenuity is set to overhaul the Capital’s nurseries.
Water features are being added to the gardens of 40 nurseries and early years centres across Edinburgh as part of a scheme based on kindergartens in Berlin and aimed at encouraging outdoor play.
The £68,000 project has been drawn up after city council officials visited Berlin last year to examine the different approaches taken to enhancing outdoor space.
Playgrounds in the German capital include sluice gates and squirting water, as well as showers and taps.
Spinney Lane Nursery School in Gilmerton was the first nursery in Edinburgh to have a water feature installed as part of the project in September last year. The design features a dry river bed and hand pump that allows pupils to interact with the installation.
The Gilmerton Child and Family Centre has also benefited from a new outdoor water play space, which was installed earlier this month.
Depute manager Nick Reynolds, 43, who lives in Leith, said the children had been making the most of the 16ft long feature.
He said: “The feature has opened up a whole range of new opportunities for the nursery garden – a place to find materials for bridges and dams or a simple fishing rod. It’s been fantastic to watch them invent so many different ways to use it.”
Twenty nurseries and early years centres will work with a children’s play consultant to develop their ideas for the water features. Another 18 will be given funding to design their own water play environments, with support provided by the council’s outdoor play and learning staff.
All the water features will be installed by the end of March, with the £68,000 funding – set aside in the city council’s children and families budget – supporting improvements to nursery grounds for water play as part of the Outdoor Play and Active Learning programme.
Green education spokeswoman Councillor Melanie Main welcomed the investment, but pointed out that primary school playgrounds could also benefit from more resources.
“Literally on the doorstep of our schools is a normally underused resource – an outdoor classroom,” she said. “Increasingly over the years, parent bodies have taken on the costs of maintaining and improving playgrounds and raise tens of thousands of pounds every year. We need to recognise that contribution and help make that money go further.”
Councillor Paul Godzik, the city’s education leader, said: “We firmly believe that young children should have the best available play environments and we want more children to experience outdoor, natural play.”
DIPPING THEIR TOES IN . .
• Bonaly PS Nursery
• Cameron House Nursery School
• Corstorphine PS Nursery
• Cowgate Under 5s Centre
• Craigroyston PS Nursery
• Duddingston PS Nursery
• Fort Child and Family Centre
• Granton PS Nursery
• Greendykes Child and Family Centre
• Hailesland Child and Family Centre
• Liberton Nursery
• Queensferry Early Years Centre
• St Ninian’s PS Nursery
• Stanwell Nursery School
• Stockbridge Nursery
• Tollcross Gaelic Nursery
• Tynecastle Nursery School
• Viewforth Child and Family Centre
• Spinney Lane Nursery
• Gilmerton Child and Family Centre
• Clovenstone PS Nursery
• Craiglockhart PS Nursery
• Craigour Park PS Nursery
• Dalmeny PS Nursery
• Flora Stevenson PS Nursery
• Gracemount PS Nursery
• Gylemuir Nursery
• Hope Cottage Nursery School
• Leith PS Nursery
• Liberton PS Nursery
• Lochrin PS Nursery
• Longstone PS Nursery
• Moffat Early Years Centre
• Newcraighall PS Nursery
• Sighthill PS Nursery
• St Catherine’s Nursery
• St David’s PS Nursery
• St John’s PS Nursery
• St Joseph’s PS Nursery
• St Mark’s PS Nursery