With the growing impacts of climate change, outdoor heat has become a serious issue. A recent study of 1000 schools by WSU revealed a link between Sydney's hottest schools and a lack of shade trees (read more). The research supports a wider push by the NSW government to boost tree canopy across Sydney to reduce the heat island effect (read more).
Whilst shade sails and other structures are just one option for outdoor areas, trees provide a more sustainable and cost-effective way to provide shelter, natural cooling and other environmental benefits for schools and early learning centres. As nature playspace designers, EKG has long recognised this need for natural shade, with trees making up an integral part of our designs. We use a variety of native trees, such as eucalypt, watergum, and lilly pilly to support local ecosystems, as well as deciduous exotics such as Japanese maple, Chinese elm, and ornamental pear, to provide a variety of shade options throughout the year.
Greening Australia, funded by the NSW Government, is currently inviting schools to participate in the Cooling the Schools program, via their website (link), helping schools increase the number of shade trees in their playspaces and outdoor learning areas.