Pre-school pupils will have the chance to work with artists to co-design and create an interactive playground installation that will help improve their experience of the playground as they make the transition into P1.
This exciting new pilot project, Stripy Nest, is in collaboration with Canal View Primary School in Edinburgh. It aims to enable young children, particularly those with additional support needs (ASN), to take the lead in creating a permanent installation that will encourage inclusive play, socialising and relationship-building.
Lead artist, Kirstin Abraham, believes that physical space is absolutely crucial for enhancing wellbeing. She said: “The playground can sometimes be an intimidating and anxious experience for younger children, and particularly for those with additional support needs. Factors such as noise, the unpredictable behaviour of other children, ever-changing social groups and dynamics, and the playground design itself can all heighten anxiety.
“Our focus will be on creating a physical space to help children overcome some of these challenges. We will spend some time getting to know the children and the creative process will be led by their interests and their needs so that they feel comfortable there, and have a sense of ownership and pride in what they create. It will also be a point of continuity as the children make the transition into P1 this summer.”
The inspiration for this project, and its name, comes from Kirstin’s seven-year-old son who is Autistic and has, at times, found the playground a difficult place to be. “He’s a wonderful little boy fascinated by the stripe patterns on Zebras, which like children, are all different. He needed somewhere he could feel calm and safe – a nurturing nest”, added Kirstin.
As a visual artist, Kirstin’s work focuses on creating sensory experiences, installations and playspaces to encourage wellbeing and positive mental health. She is also a play practitioner and has worked with The Yard Adventure Play Centre for disabled children in Edinburgh, since 2017. She will be joined in this project by Starcatchers Associate Artist Katy Wilson, and playworker Max Alexander.
Stripy Nest is funded by Ponton House Trust, Baily Thomas, The National Lottery Community Fund (Awards for All) and Souter Trust.