Lianshui New Star Kindergarten

01/

Seeing the Relationship Between Life and Nature

Nature has always been the source of all beauty, the archetype of all art. Artists often draw inspiration from nature, writers find profound emotions in the natural world, and educators, as the artists of the human soul, discover the relationship between humans and nature. We believe they are interconnected, mutually dependent, and coexisting.
 

We began the design with the idea of "Life and Nature," drawing inspiration from the serene natural beauty of Lianshui, Huai'an. We envisioned a natural playground for life to thrive. After finalizing the details with the school, we set out to build this vibrant and green kindergarten.

Kindergarten Outdoor Design

In the eyes of children, there is always a sense of wonder and curiosity about the world around them. They tirelessly explore the mysteries of nature in their unique way. Through continuous contact, experience, and interaction, children eventually come to a grand understanding, followed by a delighted exclamation, "I get it!"

Kindergarten Outdoor Design
 

02/

Meeting Nature in the Greenery

In this project, we particularly emphasize the combination of "trees" representing nature education with large equipment. Therefore, we use a wave pattern in shades of green to delineate outdoor sports areas.
 

With the fluidity of nature and life's immersion, we aim to create a cohesive perception of the natural environment regardless of proximity.

Kindergarten Outdoor Design

Kindergarten Outdoor Design

We preserved the original ground texture as much as possible. We carefully selected a variety of materials, combining natural vegetation with play paths. This design serves both the ease of movement for teachers and students and adds a natural sense of intrigue. Changing perspective, everything is green, and life flows while the mind and body are relaxed.
 

Around the core equipment area, low bushes create a cozy atmosphere. They conform to children's height and ensure outdoor activities' safety while maintaining a sense of seclusion.

Kindergarten Outdoor Design

Children climb onto the wooden walkway, entering the rabbit house. They peer out of the windows, observing the swaying greenery in the breeze. Laughter echoes in the air as they play and run around.
 

They come with excitement, hide and seek with their peers in the semi-transparent slide. They return with enjoyment, savoring the freshness of sliding down the slide and celebrating with their teachers at the endpoint.

Kindergarten Outdoor Design
Kindergarten Outdoor Design

Under the walkway is a paradise for chasing and hiding games, as well as additional functions like storage and climbing nets. We included entertaining climbing frames and sliding swings, aiming to enhance children's gross motor skills.
 

Children experience the rustling sound of shoes against grass, run on uneven soil, and feel like they've returned to the dawn of human existence – as children of nature.
 

03/

Children and the Sky

Living in Harmony with Sand and Water

For the design of the sand and water area, we chose not to follow the traditional enclosed pool design but opted for a winding water feature that mimics flowing streams, guiding water into the activity area, wooden walkways, and arching bridges. We also installed a playful waterwheel at the water source, naturally piquing children's curiosity about ancient irrigation tools.

Kindergarten Outdoor Design
Kindergarten Outdoor Design

The sound of the waterwheel is soft, and children's voices continue to rise. At the end of the flowing water, a rocky mountain provides a perfect spot for children to cool off during hot summer days. Playing in the water, their childhood unfolds, and nature's flowing water becomes a part of education. The environment becomes a natural classroom for children.
 

The authentic natural environment provides children with various materials filled with vitality: water flow, leaves, wooden sticks, flower petals, stones, and more. These low-structure materials require no teacher preparation or setup; nature provides them. They invoke children's creativity and imagination, sparking an endless sense of wonder.

Kindergarten Outdoor Design
 

04/

Responding to Nature's Call

On the other side of the large equipment, we moved the indoor stage outdoors, creating a "Garden Little Theatre."

Kindergarten Outdoor Design

Two reasons prompted this decision. Traditional kindergarten stage designs tend to be formulaic, often focused on equipment like multimedia devices and children's costumes. This approach sometimes neglects nature's involvement, and children cannot draw upon their own experiences from monotonous high-structure materials.
 

So, we decided to start from the environment around the stage, adding elements from the natural surroundings like soil, grass, and trees, providing children with rich sensory experiences. This magical chemistry happens in the equation of "children + nature."

Kindergarten Outdoor Design
Kindergarten Outdoor Design

Moving the stage outdoors also increases children's options for play. Role-playing is one of the favorite and most skillful games for preschoolers. It promotes social development in children. The "stage" can also serve as a place for speeches, hosting, and theatrical performances, aiding children's language mastery while enhancing the fun of activities.

Kindergarten Outdoor Design
 

Conclusion

From design to construction, and from construction to completion, a year has passed with flowers blooming in the garden and children growing tall like sturdy little trees. Today, children coexist with nature while playing outdoors, and every corner of the kindergarten exudes vibrant vitality. We believe that the symphony of nature and life resonates throughout this garden. Children's hearts, imaginations, and curiosity are free to flourish.

Project Name
Lianshui New Star Kindergarten
Project Type
Kindergarten Design
Design Team
Xi Yuan Kindergarten Design Research Institute