Our large, open outdoor play space is one of the most important aspects of our play-based school. Young children need to spend hours each day in motion developing their core muscles, balance and coordination. The playground is also a learning arena for social emotional skills like teamwork and conflict resolution. Free play outside is as important as guided exploration and play that happens in the classroom.
Our first priority after purchasing the building in 2008 was to redesign our ample outdoor space into a playground that matched the vision and the values of the center. Teachers met with children and mapped out their ideas (sometimes even building three dimensional models). A playground committee consisting of board members, teachers, parents, the building manager and the executive director worked with a local architect to create a comprehensive playground remodel plan. The plan included:
- Two climbers designed to provide gross motor challenges for children at all levels of their development
- Classroom gardens where children can plant flowers and vegetables, watch and care for their growing garden and, of course, hunt for bugs and worms
- A large sand area for digging
- Large objects and loose parts that inspire imagination and require teamwork to manipulate (large ropes, logs, blocks, pipes, etc.)
- Many trees to provide shade and climbing challenges
- An upgraded and attractive fence around the entire playground
- Tricycle paths that connect to Crown Hill Park
- A child guided water play sculpture*
- A sports court*
- Replacement of open asphalt with a green or growable paving system*
*These parts of the remodel project will be completed in the next few years. We are continually seeking out grant opportunities and reaching out to the parent community through fundraisers to help us achieve our goals.