In Fall 2015, the ECCDC and Bienenstock Natural Playgrounds joined forces to pilot a Playground Consultation & Training Service to support early learning and child care programs wishing to naturalize their playgrounds. This pilot project offered ECCDC Member programs the opportunity to receive playground design recommendations from the Bienenstock team; customized nature education through the ECCDC; and support with the selection of innovative materials for creating inspiring outdoor experiences for children – all at a discount price.
Interested sites were visited by the Bienenstock team to assess their space and learn more about their wishes for a naturalized playground, and by a surveyor to complete the preliminary mapping needed to design a customized plan.
4 Niagara programs agreed to become pilot sites. ACW Child Care – Woodlawn in Welland was the first to commission a build and launched their new playground in May 2016. All pilot sites have since received their customized natural playground designs and invaluable nature training for all their staff.