Sparkways South Yarra provides outdoor space for children living in high-rise buildings

Many children present Sparkways South Yarra Nursery School live in some of Melbourne’s most densely populated social housing residential towers with limited access to outdoor space.

As a result, the service prioritizes time spent outdoors and opportunities for children to connect with green spaces, including activities such as gardening. Sparkways CEO Angela Forbes contacted The area recently to share more of the service story.

Connecting, learning and working in the kindergarten garden at Sparkways South Yarra Pre School, she began, has proven to be an opportunity worth its weight in gold. With many children feeling the aftermath of prolonged Victorian lockdowns, with no backyards to retreat to, being able to spend time in the preschool garden is the highlight of their day.

“Not everyone living in Melbourne has the same opportunities and benefits,” Ms Forbes explained.

“In fact, none of the children who attend our kindergarten here in South Yarra have back yard. Children under five have limited access to outdoor areas unsupervised, except in kindergarten.

Create and maintain raised beds with native plants, flowers and vegetables provides children with opportunities to learn and have fun – all while having a secluded garden of the House.

To incorporate gardening and time outdoors into the program, raised garden beds have been created which are supported by children and educators, with more beds immediately beyond the service fence, allowing children to connect with their community providing space for residents who do not. have access to gardens to pick herbs themselves.

Children and educators were recognized for their work last year when the kindergarten was a proud recipient of the Young Gardeners of the Year award in 2021 as part of the Families, Equity and Housing Office, Victoria in Bloom Awards.

“Playing outside is such a vital part of the kindergarten week for these kids,” Ms. Forbes said. mentioned.

“We are doing everything we can to ensure that these children and families have access to some of the things many of us take for granted – a beautiful, inspiring and safe place to play and learn.

Sparkways South Yarra Pre School was the first kindergarten to be created on any audience housing estate in Victoria and has a long and proud history of supporting families living in the Horace Petty housing estate.

More information about the service can be found here.