Designing TG’s Child Care Magical Gardens

Updated: Jun 17

Meet Trevor Kee, creator of TG's Award-Winning Gardens

TG's Child Care is well-known for their high quality early childhood practices, community engagements and for their philosophy of Playing is Learning for Life. They are trusted by families as the stewardship of their children's future and are loved in all their communities across Australia.

Being famous for gardens may not be what most people associate with an early childhood centre but that is exactly what TG's is. In every single one of their six centres, there is a lush garden ripe with life where the children can live, learn and play. When people think of TG's, their amazing award-winning gardens immediately come to mind.

These gardens have been carefully designed to be exciting and dynamic places for children. They can explore and develop in a way that challenges and supports fine and gross motor skills. This is where the children build their curiosity, social and emotional intelligence and engage in active and passive play. The gardens cater to their varying moods and needs and there is something for each child who comes with their own unique experiences and interests.

So who created these amazing gardens that so clearly fosters the philosophy of Playing is Learning for Life?

The Creative Designer

The person behind these gardens is Trevor Kee. He is a qualified landscape designer and he is the creator who has made these gardens a reality. The gardens were born out of his wish for everyone on the planet to plant one seedling a day. That is all it takes for life to generate and grow.

TG's outdoor learning environment is like a Universe in Miniature and it is where they foster values, attitudes, skills and behaviour that support sustainable development. What TG's children learn in TG's gardens goes beyond just giving back to the gardens there. By nurturing care and respect in TG's gardens, the children extend that to their greater environment outside of TG's, and by building this awareness and cultivating love and joy in caring for life here today, the children are creating a better environment for tomorrow and the future. Here, TG's children are supported to become environmentally responsible.

Trevor goes right down to the details in his gardens. Designing gardens for children takes a special mind. Trevor understands what children need and enjoy, what is necessary to make them feel secure for them to engage in, and he is also very mindful about the material used and making sure it is in keeping with TG's sustainability values and commitment to supporting local economies in each community. Every single pathway, bridge and transition area is created with natural materials and local resources. Nothing is haphazard or random. Children know when a place has been created with so much thought and care.

“TG’s gardens are critical to creating a sense of belonging. A strong sense of belonging helps give children the confidence and security to explore their world, build relationships and a sense of identity, well-being and the ability to learn. Belonging, being and becoming (EYLF) learning outcomes are all embedded in TG’s gardens where children play - all supporting building relationships and creating a sense of belonging. This is where they thrive with confidence and joy every day.”

Giving Back

TG's gardens are infused with so much love, respect and joy. They are grown from the philosophy of Giving Back. Trevor is giving his expertise and skills to create magical playscapes for TG's children. That has given TG's children natural spaces to explore, get curious and learn about their environment. The children receive so much joy from being in the gardens and they in turn give back to the vegetable gardens by caring for the plants there which become delicious food for their lunch. This expands beyond TG's gardens as the children are also learning how to care for natural spaces in their communities. There are endless cycles of Giving Back that happen in TG's gardens! Thanks to Trevor, his creations have been self-generating endless cycles of giving and receiving.

This is what eco-intelligence looks like. The children learn to care for their environment in these very gardens. They learn what plants need to grow healthy and strong. They learn about the little insects that make their homes there and the part they play in this environment. The children observe the living things that inhabit these gardens and grow to love them and appreciate them. When these plants are well taken care of, they give back the love and care received from the children in the form of delicious and healthy fruits and vegetables on their plates. Appreciation for food is another beautiful consequence of Trevor's garden creations.

What makes TG's stand out is how children are heard and respected as individuals in their own right. They are capable and competent problem-solvers, confli