Every play environment has a context. This context directly relates to how successful the outdoor space will be, and should be carefully evaluated for both constraints and opportunities. Once you have a strong understanding of the context, you can use this to inform design decisions going forward.

What is it?

Context refers to the small world of the play space itself, the larger landscape that surrounds the centre, and how they interact with each other.

What to do?

The design team should assess their centre’s context and ask – is the child care centre in an old neighborhood or in the central business district, or on a farm? Is there room to provide maximum space for the children? Are there views out from the play space to its surroundings? The micro-climatic conditions should also be assessed by the design team. What is the orientation of the site – south or is it shaded by a large building?