Early Start Discovery Space recognised in national playspace awards
Interactive children's museum honoured with highly commended in Kidsafe Design Awards
The University of Wollongong’s (UOW) Early Start Discovery Space has been recognised in the Kidsafe 2016 National Playspace Design Awards.
Early Start Discovery Space was today (25 October) awarded Highly Commended in the Public Playspaces category.
The annual awards coincide with National Kidsafe Day and recognise excellence and innovation in the provision of safe, creative playspaces across Australia.
It showcases current playspace design and aims to promote inspirational, innovative play facilities and encourage healthy participation in recreational activities for children.
Early Start Discovery Space took out Highly Commended from a competitive field of national playspaces.
The purpose-built, hands-on learning through play destination is Australia’s only children’s museum, and specifically designed for children from birth to 10 years and their families to enjoy together.
It features indoor and outdoor interactive experiences where curious minds can play, create, explore, discover, share and develop.
Early Start Acting Chief Operating Officer, Grant Hughes, said the awards reflect the level of detail and thought that has gone into the design and overall experience of the space to create an environment in which children can thrive.
“The entire Early Start team and all involved in the design and creation of the Discovery Space are thrilled to be recognised. This award reaffirms the safe and nurturing environment we have created for families visiting the Discovery Space,” Mr Hughes said.
“Since opening in May 2015, we have welcomed over 145,000 visitors through our doors, and have proven to be a destination of choice for families across Australia.”
Early Start Discovery Space features multiple innovative experiences including the Tummy Tour, an inflatable stomach that teaches children about digestion, the Shipyard featuring a eight metre long, five metre wide adaptable ship, and the MarketPlace, where children can emulate the shopping experience, learning about food produce and math skills.
Innovation extends outside to the Discovery Garden, featuring a living green shade wall, kitchen garden, quarry, creek and water play activities, and musical sound sculptures including a sonic bench.
“There is a mix of noisy, quiet, group and one-on-one experiences to cater for all visitor preferences,” Mr Hughes said. “We’ve also incorporated sensory items to appeal to children with special needs and technology is seamlessly integrated throughout the Space to enhance learning”.
“One visitor summed us up perfectly, saying ‘This place isn’t a play centre, it’s an amazing world of interaction, learning and discovery’.”