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“Play is the highest form of research” Albert Einstein
Help us raise $1.5 million to revitalize our Outdoor Classrooms with an award-winning design.

At HSC, our playgrounds have served as marvellous learning spaces for many years and for hundreds of alumni, and we are grateful for the enriching experiences they have given our children. Now, the time has come to give these spaces a new kind of creativity and bring them new life.

Our playgrounds are in eager need of revitalization and we need your support. Your gift today can be pledged over 3 – 5 years.  Our goal is to have $1.5 million committed in pledges by March 1, 2018. 

As you may know, HSC must be in compliance with the Canadian Standards Association for children’s play spaces and equipment. The College is required to do daily, monthly and annual inspections of our outdoor play areas. During a recent inspection, it was determined that a number of the outdoor play structures were no longer suitable under the Education Act and will need to be replaced. Moving toward natural structures that powerfully stimulate a child’s sense of wonder and discovery will ensure that the needs of our students, as well as compliance with various laws, are effectively met.

New evidence also suggests that children should be kept “as safe as necessary” while playing, not “as safe as possible”. Free play—or play involving risk-taking—is the kind that helps children test their limits, problem-solve, develop relationships, and learn to adjust to their environments, while also helping them build their understanding of societal roles, norms and values.

In this spirit, we have proudly launched The Playground Project – Our Outdoor Classrooms to raise the necessary funds to create and install vibrant new playground and outdoor learning spaces throughout our campus.

Come play with us! Give your support to The Playground Project by visiting www.hsc.on.ca/donatetoday.




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  • The Playground Project Articles

    1) Risky Play and Children’s Safety: Balancing Priorities forOptimal Child Development - Dr. M. Brussoni

    Significance: Children develop strong risk-assessment skills through play at an early age. Over-protective environements hinder this development and potentially lead to more serious injuries later in life. Nature Play supports risk-assessment, full-body engagement and more thorough gross-motor skills.

    Abstract: "Injury prevention plays a key role in keeping children safe, but emerging research suggests that imposing too many restrictions on children’s outdoor risky play hinders their development. We explore the relationship between child development, play, and conceptions of risk taking with the aim of informing child injury prevention. Generational trends indicate children’s diminishing engagement in outdoor play is influenced by parental and societal concerns. We outline the importance of play as a necessary ingredient for healthy child development and review the evidence for arguments supporting the need for outdoor risky play, including: (1) children have a natural propensity towards risky play; and, (2) keeping children safe involves letting them take and manage risks"

    2) How Not to Cheat Children: The Theory of Loose Parts - S. Nicholson

    Significance: The more variables there are in a space, the more engaging it is. Loose parts and nature play support this.

    “In any environment, both the degree of inventiveness and creativity, and the
    possibility of discovery, are directly proportional to the number and kind of
    variables in it.” Simon Nicholson – The Theory of Loose Parts, 1971

    3) Helsinki Alert of Biodiversity & Health - Hertzen

    Significance: Children need to stimulate their immune systems through through continued exposure to environmental organisms. Nature Play supports this.

    Abstract: "Urban living in built environments, combined with the use ofprocessed water and food, may not provide the microbial stimu-lation necessary for a balanced development of immune func-tion. Many chronic in ammatory disorders, including allergic,autoimmune, metabolic, and even some behavioural disorders,are linked to alteration in the human commensal microbiota.Sedentary lifestyle is associated with reduced exposure to abroad spectrum of environmental micro-organisms and surplusenergy balance, both risk factors of chronic in ammatory disorders. According to the Biodiversity Hypothesis, an environmentwith diverse macrobiota and microbiota modi es and enrichesthe human microbiota, which in turn is crucial in the develop-ment and maintenance of appropriate immune function" 
Award of Excellence for Design
On Tuesday, January 9, 2018, Bienenstock Natural Playgrounds were presented with the Award of Excellence for Design at the 2017 Landscape Ontario Awards. Alumni Jill '84 & Adam Bienenstock '84 submitted the drawings for HSC's Playground Project, which incorporates ideas, themes and materials via input of HSC's students, faculty and staff.

HSC took their vision of new outdoor play spaces and teamed up with Bienenstock to create a comprehensive network of nature-based play areas. The designs incorporate three toddler and preschool areas, a courtyard and a revamping of the Middle and Senior School blacktops. 

Not only are the new play areas suitable for multi-age groups, the structures provide variety, shade, and a better system of drainage that previously made sites inaccessible after rain. The elements promote cognitive and physical engagement through a full sensory experience. Preview the photos to see some of the many structures that will be built into the new playgrounds.  
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Located in Hamilton, ON, Hillfield Strathallan College is a Canadian independent, co-educational day school.
The academic program runs from Montessori Toddler and Pre-K to Grade 12.

Hillfield Strathallan College | 299 Fennell Avenue West | Hamilton, ON L9C 1G3 | 905-389-1367