| Shade Planning
Planning + design checklist
Selecting your shade system
Combining natural + built
Climate and comfort
Climate-sensitive shade design
Shade for specific sites
Childcare & preschools
Parks and reserves
for childcare centres and preschools
- The need
- A Shade Audit
links for childcare centres and preschools
This section provides setting-specific information for the planning of 'sun safe' outdoor
areas at early years services including childcare facilities and pre-schools.
The need for shade
Although our senses can easily detect sunlight and infrared radiation (heat), they cannot
detect the level of ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. UV radiation can't be seen or
felt and can be damaging to our skin on cool, cloudy days and also hot, sunny ones.
Australia has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world with one in two people developing
some form of skin cancer during their lifetime. Sun exposure in the first 15 years of life
contributes significantly to the lifetime risk of skin cancer. Too much exposure to UV radiation
can cause sunburn, skin damage and skin cancer.
The good news is most skin cancer can be prevented. To make sure children are well protected from the sun, use a combination of these 5 sun protection
It is essential that childcare services and preschools also provide safe environments for
the children in their care to help reduce the risk of skin damage and skin cancer .
- Slip on sun-protective clothing - that covers as much skin as possible
- Slop on SPF30+ sunscreen - make sure it is broad spectrum and water resistant. Put it on 20 minutes
before children go outdoors and every two hours afterwards. Sunscreen should never be used
to extend time they spend in the sun.
- Slap on a hat - that protects their face, head, neck
- Seek shade
- Slide on some sunglasses - make sure they meet Australian Standards
It is now commonplace for childcare centres and preschools to have comprehensive sun protection
policies. Effective shade is an important part of a comprehensive sun protection policy. For
more information on developing a sun protection policy or becoming a SunSmart service, contact
the Cancer Council in your state / territory.
Increasingly, licensing regulations require childcare centres and preschools to provide 'adequate
shade' in their outdoor areas.
A Shade Audit
The way to know whether your outdoor spaces are appropriately managed and include 'adequate
shade' is to complete a Shade Audit. This shows when and where shade falls over certain areas
and how the outdoor areas are used. When the existing usage pattern and risks are understood,
it is possible to develop economical and effective shade solutions that meet your needs and
reduce existing risks.
The person(s) completing the Shade Audit should include, or have access to, representatives
from management, staff and possibly parents / carers. Involvement of all stakeholders will
help ensure that potential shade solutions are considered within the context of other issues
and requirements of the service, and that achievable solutions are developed. One of the key
ingredients of a successful school shade project is a Shade Audit
which shows how your school’s outdoor areas are used, the types of activities that occur and
the skin cancer risk associated with those activities.
The following information is available if you have a registered version of WebShade.
Register for WebShade
- Optimise the use of existing shade
- Direct and indirect UV radiation
- Child-friendly design
- Open areas
- Quiet areas
- Active areas
- Fixed play equipment areas
- Transition zones
- Baby/toddler areas
Useful links for childcare centres & preschools