Springzaad is a network organisation, bringing together all those interested in creating more space for children and nature. Teachers at schools and preschools, nature educators, public servants, landscape architects, horticulturists are active in Springzaad.
Springzaad was founded in 2001, as a branch of the foundation Oase (‘Oasis’, a non-profit organisation aiming to promote more naturally designed gardens).
Since its start, the Springzaad network has steadily grown. Springzaad provides a platform for all those working to promote natural play areas for children. Together we can make a difference!
• Excursions to best practices like in Rotterdam (2001), Maastricht (2002, 2006, 2007 + 2009), Deventer/Zutphen (2003), Boxtel e.o. (2004), Hilversum (2007), Den Haag (2010), Apeldoorn (2010), but also abroad, to e.g. Noordrijn-Westfalen (2004), Bayern (nature schoolgarden project of Reinhard Witt, 2005 + 2007), Freiburg (2005), Leuven (Belgium 2008), Gent (2010), Berlijn (Spring en Fall 2010), Apeldoorn (Nov. 2010), Apeldoorn (2e editie, apil 2011), Utrecht-Houten-Zeist (mei 2011, Amersfoort (2-days, juni 2011).
• Study trips. In relation to a specific subject like, how to get started, or ‘child participation’ or ‘safety’ we make study trips to a certain location. For instance to the Teacher Training College in Hengelo (2005), or to the nature playground in Leusden (2009). Usually local experts and actors are invited to tell about the project and share practicalities.
• Workshops such as making a ‘wall of the senses’, a herb spiral, or a willow tunnel at a daycare centre in Den Bosch (2005), building a ‘play-object with tree trunks’ at a school in Maastricht (2005), creating a green playground in Boxtel (2008), or an outdoor workshop: ‘creative with natural materials’ near Beuningen (2004).
• Introduction course (6 days in the course of 6 months, jan.-juni 2010) “Creative green for Children” in Amstelveen. This course is launched as a pilot, and will eventually also be given elsewhere in the country.
• Springzaad gathering (2009) three days of lectures, presentations, excursions, workshops for all Springzaad network members on Wadden island Texel. Second gathering was held on 1-3 april 2011 in Gorssel.
• Consultancy Springzaad advises teachers and pedagogues at schools and daycare centres who want to engage in greening schoolgrounds and connects them to local experts in landscape design and horticulture. This way we’ve seen many projects develop from rough idea and sketching to full realization.
Some examples of projects Springzaad is involved in:
Coordinating Green Play
This project is a collaboration between Springzaad en Staatsbosbeheer (National Forestry Service). The aim is to create more nature playgrounds throughout the country, by stimulating cooperation and exchange of knowledge and experience between all actors (both individuals and organisations) working on local, regional, national and international level.
Both organisations have gathered a lot of experience and have become leading experts in this field over the past ten years.
In 2014 Springzaad intends to organise an international symposium on Nature Playgrounds. Contact: Willy Leufgen (Springzaad): firstname.lastname@example.org
Project aim is to stimulate the use of more green materials in the design of in nature playgrounds and to stimulate children to become more involved in doing maintenance work.
Project aim is to create 6 new nature playgrounds in different regions in the Netherlands, where citizens and professionals collaborate on designing, planning and creating nature playgrounds. Experiences will be gathered and disseminated, so as to inspire others in starting similar projects.
Impuls Natuurlijke Speelplaatsen (Overijssel)
Regional network of ca 130 professionals and others (assisted by Springzaad) engaged in creating nature playgrounds. Website
Natuursprong (Nature Jump) is a project initiated by three national organisations (one of them Staatsbosbeheer, National Forestry Service) to stimulate inner-city children to go and do things outside in nature.