Nursery World Awards 15: Equipment - birth to five

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Winner - Play Collection, Community Playthings

Community Playthings’ Play Collection helps practitioners to support each child’s unique interests and encourages imaginative play.

The home corner can be turned into a kitchen, shop, hairdressers or cosy area for sleep.
Children can use the curtained arch as a puppet theatre, window or arched entry and the counter as a desk, bench or bed. Attached to the back of the units, which can be stacked to varying heights, are also magnetic whiteboards that are designed to encourage mark making. The units also have post holes.

Community Playthings’ design team wanted the Play Collection – which is suitable for children aged one to six – to serve a wide age range, so they ensured the units could be stacked to different heights. Units can be stacked in a variety of combinations and to provide counter heights of 41cm to 81cm high. The wooden components of the Play Collection are made from solid birch or bird plywood with rounded corners and edges for safety. Hinges are pinch free and the mirrors are made from high-impact polystyrene.

Ann Coetzee, head of the nursery at Allen Edwards Primary School in London, said the Play Collection has changed the way children engaged with each other while in the home corner.
She explains, ‘Children are more able to initiate and direct their own play, with many of the boys taking the lead – something which we hadn’t seen prior to having the equipment.’
Sara Davey, manager of Buttercups Nursery in Acton, says she was impressed by the durability and security of the Play Collection.

She explains, ‘We have found the equipment to be extremely strong and safe. There are no sharp corners and the children are unable to put their fingers in the hinges. This is great especially for our two-year-olds, as they want to try out and discover everything. The size of the units is right for the age and the children love the holes in the side for posting in and out.’

Highly Commended

TickiT Sensory Flashing Glitter Balls, Commotion

Described as ‘magical’ by a school teaching assistant, the TickiT Sensory Flashing Glitter Balls contain sparkling ‘stardust’ that swirls around the inside whey they are moved or bounced, and a movement activated switch that causes bright LEDs to light up and flicker. ?

For children aged three and up, the glitter balls, which come in a pack of four, are designed to be used for sensory and free play, and help children to develop their gross motor skills and hand-eye co-ordination.?Nursery supervisor Rosie Lea from Village House Nursery in Kent says the Sensory Flashing Glitter Balls have been helpful in encouraging interaction between neuro-typical children and those with special educational needs and disabilities.?
TickiT Silver Sensory Reflective Balls, Commotion

Suitable from birth, the Silver Sensory Reflective Balls provide a rich array of opportunities for babies and young children to experience multi-sensory play and engage in creative exploratory play and thinking.?

As children roll and move the mirrored spheres, they observe different effects, encouraging them to question and seek explanation for what they see.

?Made from hard wearing stainless steel, the balls range from 60 to 150mm in diameter and can be used inside and out.?Teaching assistant Steph Virgo from Weald Community Primary School in Crowborough, East Sussex, says they first used the balls on a sunny day outside and the children were fascinated by their reflective qualities, which lead to discussion about reflection and properties of light.?

Open to early years resources and equipment that support children’s learning, development and enjoyment in the Early Years Foundation Stage or equivalent

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