Thursday, October 21, 2010

Nature As Playground (and School)

I obviously focus on formal play structures at this site, not for any philosophical reasons, really, other than that's what I'm interested in and that's primarily what the playgrounds in my neck of the woods (or deserts) have to offer.

But that doesn't mean I'm against much more informal play areas such as, well, other necks of the woods.  ("Necks of the wood?"  Hm.)  Some of my favorite play memories of my own youth aren't playground-related, they're play-in-the-woods-related.  (Though some are, too.)

It's not much a surprise to me that Vashon Island, Washington, whose Ober Park playground's secret weapon is an open grassy area surrounded by trees, is also home to a "nature preschool," the Cedarsong Nature School.  The mission of the school is "to provide opportunities for direct experience with nature."  In other words, it's to play outside.  Says the description for the preschool program, "Your child is invited to join us in running through the forest, discovering and decorating hide-outs, making dreamcatchers and musical instruments, creating magic wands and magic potions, learning about the plants, creating a unique nature journal, playing make believe, making up forest songs and dances, and telling stories around a campfire."

While they might be able to handle make-believe, somehow I don't think the Kompan or Rainbow systems would handle a campfire very well.

1 comment:

  1. I love nature and community based playgrounds. Our school had access the the woods and the play structures were among the trees- awesome!

    Love from Play by Design