Early Years Guide from Proludic


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This guide explains the importance of play in educating and developing young children.

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Early Years Guide from Proludic

  1. 1. Proludic Observatory Observatoire Proludic 04 THEMATIC learning to play THE EARLY YEARS04 learning to play: THE EARLY YEARS - your questions / the answers your questions / the answers
  2. 2. Proludic Observatory 04 THEMATIC Play areas for young children As Montaigne wrote, “play should be considered the most serious activity for children”. Today, many studies prove that play is fundamental in children’s development from a very early age. It is their favourite mode of expression, through which they gradually build their personality. Play opportunities provide children with the tools to learn more about the world and their place in it. Diagnostic ● A play area represents fun, but is also a key area for children to learn and develop 03-09 The solutions ● To address the play needs of children with age appropriate equipment 10-11 ● Consider the developmental needs of young children in the technical design of the play equipment 12-13 ● Meet the educational requirements of childcare professionals through the design of the play area 14-15 Examples 16-21 Proludic’s responsibilities 2202
  3. 3. Proludic Observatory04 THEMATIC Diagnostic A play area represents fun, but is also a key area for children to learn and develop A child’s ‘early years’ is defined as the 0-5 year age group. Children of this age develop at an extraordinary pace. They are inquisitive about the world around them exploring their environment, other people and themselves. In just a few years they have learned the key skills necessary to grow up. During this period of development they acquire a considerable number of skills that are essential for their overall development: motor, sensory, social, behavioural and cognitive skills. 1- The Early Years; A period of vital growth, stimulated by play “Children don’t play to learn; Children are influenced by the environment around them, whether it is the family they learn because they play. home or an educational establishment, it plays a vital part in the development of their Play constantly stimulates personalities and integration into society. children’s development, just Play is a key component of that environment and has a far more important role than just as that development constantly an activity to amuse the child. stimulates their play.” Jean Epstein - Social psychologist. Even for babies, play is a spontaneous activity that forms an integral part of their daily life. Every activity can be a pretext for play: having a bath, getting dressed, eating, looking out Play is a fundamental activity. the window, listening to music, going for a walk, etc. It is through play that children develop their perceptions, Throughout these early years play becomes a way of acquiring 4 fundamental building intelligence, desire to try out blocks for children’s personalities: things, their social instincts and - Knowledge: through play, children can explore and learn new things. - Expertise: through play children acquire key skills using practical applications. their physical ability. - Attitude: through play, children learn to express themselves, they learn behaviour that encourages group interaction. - Creativity: play enables children to develop their imagination through role play. It encourages them to use their own initiative and work things out for themselves. Children acquire these essential building blocks, whilst playing and having fun. They gain self confidence as their skills are rewarded. 03
  4. 4. Proludic Observatory 04 THEMATIC Diagnostic A play area represents fun, but is also a key area for children to learn and develop (…/…) 2- Between the ages of 6 months and 5 years, children go through many stages in their motor, sensory and social development. Early years can be divided into 2 main periods: • 0 – 2 years: development of sensory and motor skills: Children learn about the world around them through the objects that they use. They become aware of their 5 senses. A child’s perception of their surroundings, and developments in their motor skills are key in this period. They are beginning to experience the world around them. From 0 – 2 years, children gain: > The permanence of objects: the realisation that objects exist and move even when they cannot be seen. > Spacial awareness enabling greater control of their own body movements. • 2 – 5 years: development of imagination and intelligence: During this period, children master their imaginative abilities. They begin to create mental representations of objects, and develop imitation through pretend play. They also begin to master the skills of language and drawing. The period also sees further development of their motor skills.04
  5. 5. Proludic Observatory04 THEMATIC Diagnostic 2.1 Children’s psychomotor development The progressive acquisition of skills involving both cognitive and motor activities. Children aged 0 - 5 build up a fundamental range of motor skills: movements (walking, running, jumping), balancing (standing on one foot), handling (grasping, pulling, pushing), throwing or catching objects, and so on. All of these actions are directly linked to the children’s cognitive awareness; (intelligence, knowledge and emotions). From a very early age children’s actions are a response to instinctive behavioural patterns, but they gradually become more purposeful. To ensure successful psychomotor development, children must feel comfortable in their surroundings and able to move freely. There are three areas that characterise a child’s motor development: differentiation, variability, and succession. 1- Differentiation At the earliest stages, a baby’s movement is uncontrolled. As they grow older the motor activity is refined, to become increasingly fine-tuned, elaborate and localised. A baby moves from involuntary to voluntary movement. 2- Variability A child’s psychomotor development does not evolve in a uniform or continuous pattern. The process goes through periods of fast progression, interspersed with periods of stagnation or even regression. At times this process appears to halt entirely, to then be followed by fresh development. 3- Succession Psychomotor development is governed by two fundamental laws. Cephalo-caudal law The closer the muscles are to the brain the earlier they are controlled. This is highlighted by a series of stages in static coordination. For example, muscular control moves down from the head towards the feet. The face muscles are controlled first, then a baby can lift its head, and finally it can sit up. Proximo-distal law The closer the muscles are to the centre of the body, the earlier they are brought under voluntary control. This law is shown by a series of stages in fine coordination. Control moves from the center of the body outwards. Children control their arms first, followed by their hands, and then their fingers. (Source: study carried out by the Pitié Salpétrière teaching hospital – Paris) 05
  6. 6. Proludic Observatory 04 THEMATIC Diagnostic A play area represents fun, but is also a key area for children to learn and develop (…/…) 2.2 The various stages in motor, sensory and social development for children aged between 6 months and 5 years Motor development Sensory development Social development ● Move from lying on their backs ● Attentive to everything that to lying on their tummies. moves and people around ● Stretch out their arms to be ● Rest on one arm to catch them. picked up. 6 months hold of what they want. ● Turn over things they are ● Show pleasure and annoyance. ● Can easily use their hands holding in their hands. ● Babble. and catch hold of their feet, ● Drop an object if another and love jumping up and down. one is held out for them. ● Perfect their grasping ● Sit up unassisted. movements. ● Can change their position ● Gain better control over ● Shy with strangers. to reach an object. 8 months movement in their index finger. ● Can move around by turning ● Imitate sounds. ● Understand tones of voices or rolling (1st stage of and the meaning of the word movement). “no”. ● Turn round on their bottoms. ● Often grow attached to an ● Understand certain ● Learn to crawl and start object (cuddly toy, piece of sequences linked to a known moving backwards. cloth) known as a “transitional situation (goodbye, well done) 9 months object”. and say “Daddy” and “Mummy” ● Stand up holding onto ● Can grasp small objects to the right parent. furniture, keep their balance for a few moments and then between their thumb and ● Wave goodbye. fall down. index finger. ● React to their name. ● Point to objects with their ● Use “meaningful” language ● Crawl around at fast speed. index fingers. with association of 2 word ● Take their first steps, held by sentences. an adult’s hand or holding ● Their handling skills provide 11 months onto furniture. a sense of depth, for example, ● Understand the meaning containers and contents, top of simple sentences. ● When standing up, bend and bottom, separate and ● Can pass a ball to an adult down to pick up an object. joined things. playing with them. ● Walk unaided. ● Accurate grasping skills. ● Go upstairs on all fours. ● Can put counters into the ● Love noisy toys. 15 months ● Able to sit down from a neck of a bottle. ● Play hide-and-seek. standing position. ● Can hold a spoon and turn ● Afraid of shadows. ● Get on knees unaided. the pages of a book.06
  7. 7. Proludic Observatory04 THEMATIC Diagnostic Motor development Sensory development Social development ● Can eat unaided and fairly ● Love people chasing and ● Go up and down stairs holding cleanly. catching them. onto the handrail. ● Likes scribbling. ● Imitate adults in their 18 months ● Start to run. household tasks. ● Can throw or kick a ball. ● Start to jump on both feet. ● Love playing with water and ● Understand and execute ● Can walk backwards. simple commands. sand. ● Have acquired considerable flexibility in their wrist ● Help others to get them ● Go up and down stairs unaided, undressed. movements: able to turn a but without alternating their door handle, unscrew a lid ● Talk a lot with sentences feet. and use and hold a pencil containing 2 or 3 words. 2 years ● Run fast, move in circles, correctly skip, climb and dance. ● Enjoy playing with other ● Able to complete 3 or 4 pieces children. ● Can kick a ball in the desired of a puzzle. direction. ● Call people and pets by their ● Understand how to get a names. counter out of a bottle. ● Can get dressed indepen- ● Go up and down stairs, dently and put shoes on if ● Know their name and age. alternating their feet. they don’t do up with laces. ● Construct simple sentences 3 years ● Jump and balance on one ● Able to draw a circle and and talk clearly. foot. build a tower with blocks ● Able to wait their turn. ● Able to ride a tricycle. or cubes. ● Select friends. ● Enjoy games. ● Start to grasp the concept ● Can button up their clothes. ● Able to ride a bicycle without of sharing. stabilisers. ● Able to build bridges with ● Enjoy playing games with 4 years cubes. people that have rules. ● Able to get into or out of a car. ● Ask questions about yesterday ● Enjoy/seek approval from or tomorrow. adults. ● Able to do up their shoelaces unaided. ● Learn to locate their spatial ● Play in groups for long ● Able to skip and hop. positioning (inside/outside, periods. ● Start to control their actions in front/behind, up/down, ● Realise when others need 5 years during movement (throwing, between/alongside, around, help and give them a hand. playing skittles). etc.) ● Use their imagination to find ● Learn to control their balance. ● Acquire concept of time: out different ways of playing. short/long, too soon/too late. ● Enhanced memory. 07
  8. 8. Proludic Observatory 04 THEMATIC Diagnostic A play area represents fun, but is also a key area for children to learn and develop (…/…) 3- Early Years professionals have specific expectations for play equipment The design of play areas must provide young children with lots of opportunities for sensory and motor experiences. The play areas must be bright and inviting. This creates an area that children feel safe and happy playing in, either individually or in a group. It is through this that they can start to build relationships with others. All play areas must be suitable to the age range and educational / developmental needs. They must enable all children to grow up in a world that feeds their curiosity and leads them to new and constantly refreshed experiences. Play specialists dealing with young children recommend 4 basic themes in play areas: Providing objects to play with Structuring play The adults simply give the children the tools The adults impose the rules of the play activities necessary to organise their play. The layouts on the children. The activities are therefore are designed to meet childrens requirements directed, but if this is done well, in a playful, and interests, with the intention of changing or interactive way, the children react with coope- developing them later on. ration and concentration. Letting children play independently Playing with children The adults do not impose anything on the children, who are free to organise their own The adults play with the children who ask them play activities. The children take the initiative to. The adults become partners at the same in the play activities, and they can spend as level as the children, without disturbing the much time as they want on giving free rein to children’s sense of play. their imagination and creativity. Source: Jean Epstein – Social psychologist and co-founder of GRAPE (Groupe de Recherche et dAction Petite Enfance – Research and Action Group for Infants)08
  9. 9. Proludic Observatory04 THEMATIC Diagnostic Specific types of play equipment can support and enhance this educational process. For very young children (aged 6 months / 3 years): Physical activities are fun activities, that link to emotions. By leaving very young children to play, you are allowing them to discover and explore this for themselves. This learning process can then be developed further as experience is gained. The equipment provided by specialists for crèches and nursery schools must enable: - Activities involving movement that specifically meet the need of this age group. For example equipment to test their sense of balance, as they learn to master this skill. - Providing objects and equipment that can be handled, put together, moved and dismantled. - Creating new and exciting situations that capture their attention; which is limited at this age. - Play involving expression and imitation. For older children (aged 3 / 5 years): Play activities take on increased complexity and diversity: for example, walking, which was initially possible on stable surfaces, is made possible onnarrow, high, or sloping surfaces. This helps children learn and understand other inter related actions (such as running, sliding, climbing and jumping). The play equipment used must be dynamic with different levels of difficulty. This encourages physical interaction and helps children experience new sensations. 09
  10. 10. Proludic Observatory 04 THEMATIC the solutions To address the play needs of children with age appropriate equipment The play equipment must be suitable for young children’s development. This means that the design specifications for equipment must incorporate the various stages of development that young children need and require. It must address their personal growth by including elements that will develop motor, sensory and social skills. Needs Corresponding activities > Motor development ● Leaning on things question: jumping, climbing, crawling, ● Making progress towards walking ● Using a winding walking course swinging, going over or under objects ● Assistance in walking ● Walking with their feet apart or with one ● Moving in a confined space (crawling) ● Controlling their bodies and balance or in an open space (overcoming fear of foot directly in front of the other ● Adapting their movements to heights) ● Moving in ways that the children are not different types of environment ● Assessing obstacles used to, and that brings their balance into > Sensory development ● Handling new elements and exploring ● Building or dismantling using elements ● Acting and dealing with their different tactile properties: rough, to be assembled or taken apart environment smooth, hot, cold, humps, hollows, etc. ● Understanding visual characteristics of ● Dealing with materials and their ● Filling, emptying, transferring objects: colours, intensity, light / dark properties ● Screwing / unscrewing opposition, deformation of vision, etc. ● Developing perceptions ● Exploring different sounds ● Making accurate movements > Social development ● Developing interaction with others ● Accepting rules ● Getting together in relaxed surroundings ● Encouraging mutual help ● Developing autonomy: designed to encourage social interaction ● Role Play self-assertion, opposing others, ● Taking turns, sharing (making a distinction creating a sense of responsibility between mine and yours), cooperating ● Using their imagination (imitation / identification)10
  11. 11. Proludic Observatory04 THEMATIC the solutions Suitable play equipment ● Play mat ● Springer ● Steps ● Slope ● Slide ● Tunnel ● Climbing net ● Catwalk ● Small swings ● Area with mobile and tactile ● Sand and water play elements, and play equipment ● Musical play based on the principle of action / reaction ● Play elements with light and handling activities ● Platform ● Playhouse ● Sand and water play ● Themed play 11
  12. 12. Proludic Observatory 04 THEMATIC the solutions Consider the developmental needs of young children in the technical design of the play equipment The early years of childhood varies from one child to the next. Children will learn and grow at different rates. It is important to create equipment that takes the varying abilities of young children into account. As very young children are not yet in full command of their bodies and balance, the elements in play areas are seen as “obstacles”. During this long phase of discovery and experimentation, play areas become a world of communication, based on the action / reaction principle. As children become more aware of their body control and personal capabilities, play areas become spaces where they can practice these skills. In order to address these needs, the technical aspects of play have to be specific. This means incorporating three key considerations into everything that is produced: design, materials and health and safety. 1- Good Equipment Design The users have a view of the area that is adapted to suit their ages and heights. The view is horizontal to begin with, then becomes vertical, as the children leave the ground to climb an incline or some steps. They are also discovering new sensations such as rocking and swinging. As its users are in the midst of learning motor skills, with unstable balance and uncertain coordination, the play equipment has to comply with the following design principles: > Systematic use of rounded corners and smooth edges that do not create hazards. 1 > Eliminating all parts or openings in which small fingers could get caught. > Incorporating wide steps to enable infants to position their feet correctly. 212
  13. 13. Proludic Observatory04 THEMATIC the solutions > Putting handles on the handrails of the steps to reassure children as they go up them. 2 > Fitting backrests, side walls and safety bars on all the equipment involving swinging or rocking movements for very young children, to ensure their bodies are supported. 3 > Adapting the sliding surfaces on slides to suit user size, to avoid problems of inbalance as the children go down them. 4 > Designing the sliding surfaces on slides so that the users speed is slower as they reach the end of the slide. 4 > Making swing seats comfortable and safe to avoid children tilting forward, backward or to one side. The seat shape, holding elements, safety bar and leg separators are the main safety features in place for very young children. 5 > Designing structures with clear entry and exit points. > Making each element accessible to adults, to enable them to provide help and support. 6 1 2 3 4 5 6 13
  14. 14. Proludic Observatory 04 THEMATIC the solutions Consider the developmental needs of young children in the technical design of the play equipment (…/…) 2- Materials Materials for this age group are particularly important. They must ensure optimum safety whilst providing sensory exploration. Wood Plastic materials Aluminium platforms Wood Wood can be used to create visual and tactile experiences: • It is warm to touch, so preferable over metal. • It is painted in bright, cheerful colours. This attracts the attention of very young children and helps them to recognise surroundings. The types of wood selected must not have any rough spots or sharp edges. > The use of laminated wood for posts avoids risk of injuries, because is it free of splinters and does not split. > Plywood has the advantage of being easy to cut into rounded shapes and figurative silhouettes that are attractive to children. The platforms of the play equipment are covered with a non-slip finish (in the form of a phenolic resin) to give the users good grip and aid balance. Plastic materials Plastic is a material that does not split, crack or chip, and like laminated wood cannot splinter. The types of plastic selected are free of all toxic agents and are available in a wide range of colours. The rotomoulded and injected forms create many shapes and finishes which combine comfort with touch. Aluminium platforms Beaded or chequered aluminium sheeting provides a non-slip surface. When used to make steps, it gives a feeling of stability to children.14
  15. 15. Proludic Observatory04 THEMATIC the solutions 3- Health and Safety Young children are considered a high risk population for the spread of germs and infections. The materials used for the heavily used parts of play areas must be kept clean and washed at regular intervals. The equipment selected features materials that are easy to keep clean. Example of compact This material stands up to aggressive cleaning products, and it is mainly used for equipment composite panels: that requires frequent cleaning (such as steps that are put to heavy use). Example of The design has to include a system that allows water to run away sandpits: without any risk of contamination to the sand due to seepage or backflow. In addition to this, a cover is provided to keep the pit clean. 15
  16. 16. Proludic Observatory 04 THEMATIC the solutions Meet the educational requirements of childcare professionals through the design of the play area Play specialists in crèches and nursery schools, play a major role in children’s development. Their educational programmes together with their direct experience and observations help create an environment of discovery. Equipment can enhance this experience, adding an educational element to suit young childrens specific needs, potential and skills. > Providing courses that are fun and educational “We look to rotate the The aim here is to create multiuse courses that enable young children to experience a equipment designs in the area full range of play activities. and the “toy section”. This The equipment will include elements that require individual physical challenges (for eliminates routine behaviour example swinging, sliding or climbing). It will also include group play, themed play and and keeps children’s attention quiet play as well. for longer.” Christine Aussaguel educational worker As young children have limited concentration spans and get bored easily, it is important for young children to have equipment that remains exciting. This equipment has the advantage of being interchangeable; therefore courses can be changed and modified to suit individual needs. Fresh obstacles can also be added to the course. This allows the levels of complexity to alter, as the children grow and develop. > Being able to provide different activities using the same elements Modularity of play equipment Multiplay units have the advantage of creating several play activities within one piece of is an important factor. equipment. It enables all concerned to follow a coherent structure Example: A play mat made up of modules in various shapes (arch, elbow, etc.) is a play that assesses the progress element and learning tool in its own right. made by each child. Used on their own or jointly, the elements can be transformed into in a bridge to be crossed or a tunnel to go through. We also consider a slide to be more than just an opportunity for sliding. With an added shelter, it is turned into a quiet area that children can use.16
  17. 17. Proludic Observatory04 THEMATIC the solutions Example: A multiuse course that can be modified Adding equipment with activities • Observing designed to improve motor and role play skills. • Discussing • Sliding • Hiding • Sitting • Crawling • Discovering • Handling • Handling • Experimenting • Climbing • Going over or under • Clambering Extension of the course using elements dedicated to psychomotor development. • Walking • Moving along an element • Avoiding obstacles Example: A motor skills mat that can be changed Single element to be moved Elements put together to form Elements put together to form a course that vary along while astride it a tunnel to crawl through the motor skills activities 17
  18. 18. Proludic Observatory 04 THEMATIC the solutions Meet the educational requirements of childcare professionals through the design of the play area (…/…) > Being able to set up small or large combinations as the space constraints allow The space available does not always enable installation of large structures. Regardless of size of the site, play specialists always seek to strike a good balance between active and quiet play, individual and group play, and any activities initiated by the children or specialists themselves. In a small area: Providing compact structures – making a range of different activities possible – meeting the requirements of the educational team. The spaces for the various activities are then carefully planned out, and this gives children a feeling of security. • “Quiet” area • Individual area • Motor skill activities (stooping down, crawling) • Sensory or handling activities (playing in sand or water, handling small bricks or balls, etc.) • “Active” area • Group area • Motor skill activities (clambering, sliding, hanging) • Social activities (observing, discussing)18
  19. 19. Proludic Observatory04 THEMATIC the solutions Larger areas enable The play equipment encourages children to make the most of all the space available a wider range of (height and depth) and helps them to better structure their body and motor coordination. play solutions to be installed: The lookouts, platforms, inclines, and catwalks take young children to different heights, while the tunnels and walls encourage them to use the low elements. Designs featuring larger structures have several entry and exit points and are less linear. This avoids the duplication of any play activity. • “Active” area • Motor skill activities (clambering, sliding, hanging) • Space management Multiple entry and exit points Multiple entry and exit points • “Quiet” area • Get-together area • Fine motor skill activities (handling abacuses, colour discs, etc.) • Role play 19
  20. 20. Proludic Observatory 04 THEMATIC Examples Designs in closed areas Example 1: Crèche playground Children’s age group: 6 months - 3 years Objectives: Organising the outdoor area of a crèche to include many play activities. Enabling children to rotate between motor, handling and social activities. Individual play area made up of elements encouraging movement and body control. Social areas that lead to group interaction. 4 1 3 5 Play and learning course with a succession of tactile motor elements. 1 Rest area, ideal for quiet time and daydreaming. 2 Play mat designed to develop motor skills in very young children, and featuring modular elements that can be changed. 3 Tactile area with multiple handling activities, designed to help children enhance control of their movements and develop their sensory awareness. 4 Group play with sand activities. This area is sheltered from sunlight by a protective dome. 5 Slide element at the end of the course to enhance the children’s psychomotor development. 220
  21. 21. Proludic Observatory04 THEMATIC Examples Example 2: Crèche room Children’s age group: 6 months - 3 years Objectives: Creating a crèche room with activities linked to a specific teaching programme. Using play equipment that can be installed indoors or outdoors, depending on the climatic conditions. Area for social exchanges 1 3 Learning activities that are organised, supervised and evaluated. Installation of play and learning experiences, organised around 2 different types of area: activity and imagi- nation. 1 Motor skills mat with multiple combinations of play activities that encourage improved walking techniques: movement, balance, and space mana- gement. 2 Container for balls, building bricks, cubes, etc. for activities to enhance handling skills and sensory 2 awareness. 3 Play area suitable for role play games, social exchanges and identification of play objects. 21
  22. 22. Proludic Observatory 04 THEMATIC Examples Designs in open areas Example 1: Suburban park Children’s age group: 1-3 years and 4-5 years Objectives: Developing the area in a structured way, based on the 2 age groups concerned. Providing a wide range of play activities in a safe environment. Furniture for adults and supervisors Litter bin to ensure the that is sheltered from the sun. play area is kept clean. 2 4 Surfacing graphics to differentiate clearly between the 2 play areas. 3 1 Fence with a gate featuring an anti-finger trap and fencing with a wide, smooth handrail. 2 Area for the 1 - 3 years age group: play equipment ensuring full safety and body stability for very young children during any rotation or swinging (swing seats with holding elements and leg separators, and side walls and backrests for the springers). 3 Area for the 4 - 5 years age group: multiplay structure that concentrates play activities while developing the users’ motor skills and social skills. 4 Shared area: sandpit to enhance sensory exploration. Presence of a roof to protect the children from sunlight and provide good hygiene 1 conditions when the pit is not in use.22
  23. 23. Proludic Observatory04 THEMATIC Examples Example 2: Urban play area Children’s age group: 1-5 years Objectives: Welcoming young children to an original play environment with strong theming on the equipment and graphic surfacing. 3 Fencing all round the area to close it off from surrounding areas. 1 5 4 2 6 1 The use of different surfacing levels, to create areas of height. 2 Surfacing graphics that correspond to the equipment theme. 3 Design with multi-play structures that can be used by several children at once. This encourages sharing and acceptance of group rules. 4 Catwalk made safe with side panels, overlooking a hollow, to help users manage the notion of heights. Equipment selected to suit the theme 5 Slide with high sides, placed on a small artificial bank, with access made easier by of the play area (palm trees, islands, climbing holds. fish, boat). 6 Themed section that encourages role-play. 23
  24. 24. Proludic Observatory 04 THEMATIC Examples Young children and inclusion Integration of children with disabilities into a play area must be taken into account from the start of each project. The equipment selected must be suitable to meet specific requirements in the field of motor, sensory and social development. Selection of equipment enabling young children with disabilities to use the area. > Springers with side panels, wide seats and backrests, and solid footrests, to give young children with motor disabilities suitable support. > Rotary equipment as close to the ground as possible, with handrails and wide seats to keep the children’s bodies stable. > Playhouses with floors, wide entrances, resting places and window sills so that children can easily locate the houses and play with other children.24
  25. 25. Proludic Observatory04 THEMATIC Examples > Small slides close to the ground to reassure children. Presence of wide steps to provide full support, handrails to make it easier for them to climb up, and a guardrail to avoid falling forwards. > Musical play equipment enabling young children with sensory disabilities (such as blindness) or behavioural disorders to enhance their acoustic sensation. > Themed play equipment that is easily accessible and encourages role play, enabling children to play together and share imaginary stories. > Themed play equipment with handling activities to develop concentration, sensory abilities or group play. > Play panels, close to the ground, to provide easy access to manual activities. This is particularly good for children in wheelchairs and it is easily accessible. > Play equipment with sand and water: they encourage children to explore materials and surfaces, and they can be used as part of behavioural therapy. 25
  26. 26. Proludic Observatory 04 THEMATIC Proludic’s responsibilities The Proludic process for developing play areas for young children translates into the following actions. Observation Since 1988, Proludic has observed and analysed the ways in which young children use play equipment. This included individuals or group play and the motor, sensory and social skills associated with these types of play. Consultation Proludic works in close collaboration with several play specialists that deal with young children: play workers, primary school teachers, and psychologists. This has enabled us to understand the behaviour patterns of very young children in relation to their age and personal development stages. Innovation Proludic prides itself on being an innovative company. Our research in this field allows us to create and develop the most up to date solutions for play. Advice Each project is managed by a member of the Proludic team, who will advise a site specific survey and study of the surrounding areas. This process is also supported by the design department, who are able to provide detailed visual drawings and information. Quality Our quality policy is at the core of everything we do. On the strength of our experience with the ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 systems, we have sought to impose the same requirements for installation, maintenance and surfacing. This approach was rewarded in 2006 in the form of the Certisport certification. Experience To date we have installed over 26,000 play and sports areas across the world. We are happy to provide site references in close proximity to any proposed area.26
  27. 27. Observatoire Proludic Proludic Observatory04 THEMATIC The Proludic Observatory More than 15 years ago, the Proludic group set up a technical and scientific observation system that enables it to analyze trends specific to play and sports areas. The three main sources of information are: Observing existing sites throughout Europe Feedback from clients from over 1,500 sites installed in different markets A quality system which monitors all projects, from design through to installation The tests and inspections have been repeated over many years using identical methods; the results constitute a valuable database that can be compared to field information. This enables the Proludic Observatory, with the help of experts in each of the fields studied, to draw upon a bank of knowledge concerning all the aspects involved in designing accessible leisure facilities. The work is intended to enable play and sports areas to progress in Europe taking into consideration that changes in all the operating conditions to suit customer and user requirements. THEMATIC Guides Over the last 15 years our research has given us the relevant experience to put together a set of themed guides, these are available to purchasers, decision makers and local authority officers. These technical guides provide answers, theme by theme, to the essential questions posed by play or sports areas. They make up one of the services provided by Proludic free of charge for existing or potential clients. In each of the countries in Europe, the Proludic teams are at your disposal to provide further information that you may require. Crédits photos : Proludic THEMATIC guides: a collection edited by RC TOURS B 347 839 193 the Proludic Observatory 09/2008 PROLUDIC Tél. +33 2 47 40 44 44 Z.I. L’étang vignon Fax. +33 2 47 52 65 55 37210 VOUVRAY - FRANCE e-mail : proludic@proludic.fr