New play space

The outdoor space set to undergo works in Mount Evelyn. 203373 Picture: ROMY STEPHENS

Mount Evelyn’s Cire Children Services hopes to encourage greater inclusion for children of all abilities, with plans for a new outdoor space recently given the green light.

Member for Eastern Victoria Harriet Shing announced on 19 December that Cire Services will receive funding of over $100,000 to develop an outdoor space that enhances playing opportunities for children.

As part of the new space, Cire Services will look to include easy accessibility for children with a disability or on the spectrum.

Cire Services’ executive manager of family and children’s services, Diletta Lanciana, said the new space will be hugely beneficial.

“Here it means heaps because we actually have quite a few children that have additional needs,” she said.

“It will just give them more scope to have those sensory opportunities, to have those quiet spaces.”

Ms Lanciana said the outdoor area for Mount Evelyn is still in its planning stage, however, the organisation’s Yarra Junction location completed a similar project last year.

In Yarra Junction, the new outdoor space saw the inclusion of vegetable boxes, a dry creek bed, an access spinner, outdoor musical instruments, a more accessible sandpit and more.

Ms Lanciana said the Mount Evelyn centre hopes to include similar material in its space with a focus on inclusion, self-regulatory equipment and sensory experiences.

“Having a quiet space we’ve found is a really important thing,” she said.

“The educators can see them, they know that they’re safe, but it gives them that time to calm down on their own.

“That goes a really long way in helping them to regulate for themselves.”

The funding received by Cire Services is part of the State Government’s Inclusive Kindergartens Facilities Program.

The program provides up to $200,000 in upgrades to create safe and inclusive environments for children with additional needs.