Middle Group and Youngest Group upper level
(provides opportunity later in the year for two year olds to share
some more challenging space with the three year olds)
Four swings with poured-in-place safety surface (required for children 2yrs.9mos. and younger) and fall zone take up most of this gated, fenced-in space. The corners will be planted and the fence will be imbedded in shrubs. Children have the sense that this is an area in which to slow down and safely approach swings. We did not wish to give up all swings even though they require such extraordinary fall zones. In fact in two observational studies over two years at the CSC we found that swings constituted the single most popular equipment choice.
8) Perennial Garden with Stepping Stones and Deck
This area provides a natural setting in which children may explore, discover and interact with plants and each other.
Scheduled to be installed in Phase III, this area will provide sheltered space for group horticultural study during all sorts of weather. We will have potting benches built (in the spirit of the Progressive Movement) at child height, as well as water and electricity. The patio will be covered with blue stone and invite small groups of children to experience garden related learning activities.
10) Lawn and Gathering Area
This grassy area will be surrounded by low shrubs and fitted with two small wooden gates. Children may find meditative, cozy space here away from the rest of the playground activity, yet still be seen and supervised by the adults.
A tricycle shed will be built here for children to access and “park” their wheel toys. We hope to custom build this shed so that its doors will provide a gate to close off the Youngest Group from the Middles when we so choose.
12) Kompan Company Climbing Structure with Double Slide
A climbing structure chosen to meet some of the needs for children’s muscle development, this space also provides various areas for dramatic play. The surrounding mulch is specially engineered and installed to a depth greater than 12 inches to meet safety requirements.
13) Sand Area
This large custom built cedar structure offers enough sand to accommodate many children with an attached deck, pergola and two “privacy” walls for expanded social interaction. In actuality, the walls are designed with widely spaced horizontal and vertical slats in order for student and faculty researchers to observe without disrupting children’s play. Bushes will surround the walls, as well, further protecting the play while suited to the landscape at the College entrance.
14) Hexagonal Deck
Situated near the top of the hill this deck affords a great “destination” and vantage point from which children may survey the breadth of the garden. Nearby in the uppermost corner of the lot there will be a circle of poles installed for children to play around and with, for example by attaching crepe paper from one to another to form an enclosure. Downhill will be a fern garden and a tall grasses maze.
15) Discovery Garden
Surrounded by short-sawn sections of tree this area invites children to experiment with digging and planting. Teachers might use the surrounding sections to display a few elements of nature, such as seed pods, cones, worms, beetles, leaves or pine needles, in conjunction with child generated interests. Children may dig here much as they would in the sand box, yet with real loam and peat.
This structure is designed specifically to foster dramatic play and social interaction. Its central A-frame element recalls a dwelling and its benches on either end invite children to gather. Like the sand area “privacy” walls, the large back wall provides ample spaces between diagonal slats for researchers to observe without being intrusive.
17) Sheds with Large Deck
The two sheds form and entrance and provide storage for toys and gardening equipment. The shed nearest the deck is divided in half inside so that children may access large wooden hollow blocks and play with them on the deck surface. Nearby is a curved, low rock wall for adults and children to rest or wait. A drinking fountain will stand in front of the wall and plantings will border the fence behind.