Children's play area wins award

The garden and outdoor play area of Bright Beginnings – the University’s childcare centre – has been given a special local award in the Nursery Garden of the Year Awards by Leeds Early Years.

The celebration event was attended by over 70 people, including centre staff, Ruth Bush the centre's architect, designer Mel Polson from Leeds Early Years, builders, parents, members of the board of directors and, of course, the main users of the garden - the children themselves. Councillor Judith Blake presented a hand-carved plaque to general manager Angela Foley.

Bright Beginnings originally planned to install flat safety surfaces in its play area but, thanks to a £25,000 grant from Leeds Early Years in 2009, it was able to create a natural garden which gives children an attractive, stimulating environment with lots of opportunities to learn.

"The garden spaces were planned in consultation with the children, offering lots of opportunities for them to engage in relevant and interesting experiences," explains Angela. "The features of the garden help children to develop strategies to assess risk for themselves, promoting greater body awareness, self-confidence and self-esteem. Children are able to develop a sense of the wonder of nature, having opportunities to investigate, observe and discuss whilst experiencing first hand natural features and events.

"We're really pleased to receive recognition for the experiences and opportunities we provide for our children and are proud to showcase these to other nurseries and centres. Leeds Early Years will use our portfolio as a benchmark of quality."

Bright Beginnings have now entered their outdoor environment in a national award with Nursery World Magazine. 

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