Playing together outdoors!

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‘t Goudvisje (The Goldfish) crèche gives children the freedom to imagine.

In the outdoors with your friends, discovering the world around you, a new adventure behind every tree, is there anything more wonderful than children playing? Not according to Berry Vissers. Together with his wife Nanna, he has run 't Goudvisje crèche since 1997, and it has to be said: as soon as you set foot on the premises on Canadasingel in Rosmalen, Netherlands, the joy you will encounter leaps out at you from the pretty green playground that surrounds the building. With cheerful KOMPAN colours set against a green background, it's quite a playground!

't Goudvisje crèche adheres to a very individual philosophy when it comes to playgrounds. "From the very beginning we wanted to do things differently and better. Not just a boring yard, but an adventure playground where there is always something new to discover, just like in nature". The result is a playground of over 600 square metres, on different levels, with exciting glimpses, protected corners, fun shadows and, most important of all, a lot of greenery. In the centre, the large slide on the small hill marks the transition from infant to toddler and older, because with its out-of-school crèche, 't Goudvisje is open to children aged 0 to 12.

Contact with each other

"Our philosophy is one of playing together and self-discovery, but of course that different for each age group. Infants do everything based on touch, and smells are very important, so for that reason we leave the grass a bit longer for them on purpose and we grow sweet-scented flowers. And for the older children we have a special 'closed' area where they can play and talk together. Out of the direct sight of the supervisor of course, because that's how it should be when you're a bit older!" On the playground, everyone can find their own place - the young ones play on and under the play equipment on the lawn, the toddlers run after each other on the small hill or through the 'underground' tunnel, an old drainpipe that has been transformed into one of the most popular attractions on the premises. The children play football, and if weather permits the leaders fill the small paddling pool, so the little ones can splash away to their heart's content in the summer sun."

Quality and confidence

Since its foundation 't Goudvisje has used play equipment from KOMPAN, most of which is still in place. "You can safely say it's a good relationship", laughs Mr Visser, remarking that he 'strayed' once in the past. But it didn't last long. "Ultimately you are looking for quality, safety and a common vision. We have that connection with Ank Duteweert of KOMPAN. She comes from a childcare background herself and understands exactly what we are talking about. And you can see that the equipment is very carefully conceived. It can be combined very well in any layout plan, everything has a function and there is a great deal to discover. That's exactly what we are looking for."

An expert layout plan

The cooperation between KOMPAN and 't Goudvisje will soon undergo a very special development in the form of a real children's crèche farm in nearby Empel. It's a real barnyard with animals, a vegetable garden, climbing hills and lots of sand to romp in and "natural" play equipment. There is one large playground of more than 1200 square metres, where at first sight everything appears to be very mixed up. But children all automatically find their way around this paradise, in which the KOMPAN Elf Paradise takes pride of place.

"A playground stands or falls according to its layout, and this has worked very well for this new children's crèche farm: KOMPAN created a plan in which everything falls into place: play equipment, greenery, animals, a cycle track and so on." But Mr Vissers says the most important thing is that a play area should challenge you to go exploring for yourself. "Place a stone on a track and one child sees it as a flat building, another as a petrol pump and another will use it as the finishing line for his own formula one cycle race. That's the essence of play - using your imagination".

Fast facts

Location: Rosmalen and Empel, The Netherlands

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