Young children get enormous benefits from exploring nature. Gardens For Life designs inspiring, functional outdoor spaces for early education programs of all kinds. Read on to see two examples!
Packing Play Value in a Small Courtyard
Erica designed an outdoor play and learning space for a Boston-area child care center. The staff requested plenty of opportunities for direct engagement with the natural world, including sand and water, sensory plantings, and “magical” elements such as a labyrinth. The design packs a lot of experiences into a small courtyard.
The design integrates the primary path in and out of the building, while creating secondary paths for discovery and intimate spaces to dig, build, and appreciate the beauty of nature. Logs and boulders encourage climbing, small group play, or focused investigations. A hill with a water pump and dry streambed provide endless opportunities for exploring sand and water.
Erica worked closely with staff to develop the plan and installation estimate. She assessed the existing site conditions, including drainage problems, and responded with a plan for a delightful, functional place for play and learning.
Working With Nature to Enhance Play Opportunities
Erica consulted with Mass Audubon’s Boston Nature Center to improve the outdoor learning spaces for their nature preschool, Pathways To Nature. The site has a wooded area with a wealth of opportunities to connect with the natural world: logs to scramble over, branches to build with, and frequent visits by wild turkeys, squirrels, and red-tailed hawks. Erica met with staff and came up with a design that enhances the natural environment and adds clarity of use and management.
A “front yard” lawn space is maintained to offer opportunities for ball play and large group gathering. The “backyard” space feels rustic and has art and music play elements, raised garden beds, and open-ended structures for science experiments. The “woods” are enhanced by boulders and a sand/water play area that takes advantage of an existing hill.
Are you looking to improve your child care center’s outdoor space? Get in touch today!