18) Shed with Gathering Benches
This graceful entrance provides easy access through a cedar gate to a platform with storage shed and benches for adults and children to rest or to give instructions or the news of the day.
19) Sand Area with Goric Company Water Feature
Sand and water are surrounded by rocks in an ample natural setting for 4 and 5 year olds’ play. The Goric water system provides an old-fashioned hand pump, a pump platform, several catching barrels and a series of wooden troughs. The troughs provide some of the portable qualities we sought for the older children’s play. We may choose to offer sand alone or with water, depending on the weather and the curriculum goals.
The vegetable garden will offer children myriad possibilities to grow edible plants. Although the program runs from early September through late May, teachers will cultivate vegetables that have some interest or harvest within these limited months. Eventually, we hope to tend a limited crop over the summer months in order to have a harvest available for children in the fall. We have the opportunity to start plants indoors throughout the colder months and even outdoors in the greenhouse when that is installed. The hexagonal deck provides a wonderful view of the sand area, vegetable garden and entire play space, as well as the neighboring Middle Group area.
21) Forest with Lookout Deck
This stand of oak and hemlock trees provides a sense of forest for our oldest children. Within its stand we have built a fenced deck which serves as a favorite site for rich imaginative play. Children may access the deck via several step stone pathways or simply by tromping through the woods.
A centrally located formal gathering lawn invites sitting down in social groups, picnicking or reading stories. We will observe how children use this space and determine how we might provide plantings here.
23) Kompan Company Climbing Structure
This piece of equipment offers several options for social and physical development. In addition to the house-like lookout, double slide and curly pole, children may practice hanging from a variety of horizontal bars. Throughout the past 25 years we have observed that our oldest children enjoy the challenge that such bars afford and we are happy to have replicated this particular feature for them. It is a rite of passage (almost ready for kindergarten) to have mastered the tallest bars. In the corner of this area, toward the nearby swings, there will be a thicket in which children might “hide.”
24) Swing Area and Shed
The four swing set is tucked into the area farthest from the garden entrance and bordering the daycare playground. Plantings will be installed for their ability to cover the fence and retaining wall in order to create a “softer,” less “urban” environment and to define for the children where their play space ends and where the neighboring space begins. It is our intention to create a restful environment for swinging. Plantings will almost surround the swings, along the metal fence and in the two nearby corners along the wooden rail fences. This second storage shed provides room for wheel toys to traverse the paved pathways.
25) Exploration Trails and Discovery Area
Downhill we have captured a forested area previously unavailable to the children. They have thoroughly enjoyed the physical challenges of climbing up and down the steep incline. Low rail fences protect children from entering upon the hill without planning their movements. Atop the hill and nearer the garden entrance is the Discovery Area. Defined by a semi-circle of broad paving stones with a central tree stump “table,” this area invites children to bring their found natural treasures (bits of wood, cones, seeds, feathers, and the like) and for teachers to present a curriculum focus. We observe that the children also use this space for imaginative play and social interactions.