Nursery World Awards 2013: Equipment - Under-threes

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Winner: Dream Coracle, Community Playthings

The Dream Coracle is a safe, personal space that babies and young children can access themselves, curl up in and sleep.

Community Playthings designed it in consultation with many nurseries. Practitioners gave their input on every aspect, including the final shape and stacking feature. One nursery head commented, 'I would use the Dream Coracle for all our under-twos - for young babies because it is such a lovely embracing space and for older ones because they can access it independently.'

The design stops children being confined to cots and allows them the freedom to independently choose when they would like to crawl into a secure place and rest.

Nominating the product, designer Martin Huleatt says, 'We took an early prototype to Kate Greenaway Nursery School. The staff asked us to leave it in the baby room for a week so the children would have time to get used to it. Unfortunately, we could only leave it for the day. Imagine our surprise at the end of the day when the staff gave us photos of a child asleep in it. He had climbed in and nestled right down. He knew exactly what it was for.'

The design reduces the back strain of lifting young children in and out of cots. They are also easy to clean and can be stacked away when not in use. The Coracle is designed so that when stacked the base of the upper unit does not soil the sheet of the one below.

The slight spiral of the Dream Coracle was inspired by a seashell, and rocking on the waves has always been a metaphor for drifting off to sleep, a theme echoed in lullabies. This motif helped Community Playthings to choose the name, with a coracle being a small rounded vessel used for centuries in the British Isles.


Highly commended

Wooden Pyramids, TTS Group

Judges commented on the versatility of these three stacking pyramids and the natural materials - ash and birch wood - that they are made out of. The Wooden Pyramids can be built with, threaded on to the stands, lined up, sorted, transported - truly engaging children and offering open-ended play.

The resource takes a traditional toy and, through adding a variety of different shapes, introduces a new dimension to it.


Finalists

Baby Cello, babymusic.com

Baby Harp, babymusic.com

Nursery Starter Kit, Sound Children

Sparkle Cylinders, TTS Group


Criterion

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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