School’s out for the summer – which means the start of preparations for the 2016/2017 school year! One exciting addition to the landscape at West Side Christian School this fall will be the Playscape, which will be the primary classroom space of the new nature-based preschool as well as a learning and gathering space for other classes and groups here at school.
What is a playscape? What will it look like? How will we use it? I’m glad you asked!
This is a visual overview of our playscape area, located on the northwest corner of our property next to the nature preserve. Special thanks to West Side Christian School parent Dirk DeWitt, owner of DeWitt Landscape & Design for helping us vision this learning space and for this amazing rendering. His gifts and talents are such a blessing to our community, and I am so thankful for the hours he has already poured into this project! We’ve worked closely with Blandford Nature Center to plan for this space as well and I’m grateful for their continuing partnership as we bring this space to life.
The outdoor play area - natural playscape- will be filled with art, hills, pathways, trees, plants, open areas, sand, water, music, and more... this will be where children find places to run, climb, experiment, measure, dig, pretend, and have opportunities to sing or be silent. My nature-based preschool class will begin their days in this space and we’re planning some exciting things for it, including these:
- Stump Circle
We're receiving donated stumps and will be making this space that's excellent for large-group time and also for developing preschoolers' gross motor skills.
- Music Wall
A tremendous amount of educational research confirms the benefits of STEAM (science|technology|engineering|arts|math) core concepts, with a recent emphasis on the benefits of intentional cross-curricular arts & music integration. Good habits start young! We’re taking music into nature and can’t wait to begin construction on a music wall.
Do you have a plastic slide you’re able to donate to help us construct a slide into our natural playscape area?
- Mushroom Garden
One of our nature-based preschool parents is taking charge of creating a mushroom garden in our playscape.
How can YOU get involved in this exciting project?
A few different ways!
First, we’re having a Playscape construction night on Tuesday the 21st from 6-8 p.m. and we’d love you to come join us for a fun night starting to put the Playscape together. That link will take you to the Facebook event page, where you can find more information. No experience or special skills needed!
Second, can’t make that night work? Let me know when you’re available! This project will continue throughout the summer and we’ll be working out here a lot.
I’m spending this week at the Nature Preschool Institute gathering ideas, materials, and resources to take back to West Side Christian School, and I’ll be writing up another blog post after I’m back from the conference letting you know more about our plans for the fall. Be sure to subscribe to the blog to get those updates delivered right to your inbox!
I’m looking forward to seeing you on the 21st!