Phase 1 of the Playground Project is DONE! We finished on Saturday afternoon, and today is the official unveiling - little feet will hit it for the first time this morning. I am so happy with how it turned out. The whole process was surprisingly enjoyable; I had the best helpers - moms and dads and teachers from the school, all of whom gave of their time (and the health of their knees!) so willingly and without complaint. The hours we spent measuring, chalking and painting were full of laughter. And doughnuts. Which seems wonderfully apt, for a kindergarten playground..
My goal in designing it was to give the kids a variety, a balance - between educational games and imagination sparkers; between smaller, quieter activity and big, physical work; between directed play and empty space to run and be free. They now have traditional games like four-square and hopscotch, plus a spiral hopscotch board to mix things up a little, all of which give them a chance to connect the learning about numbers that they're doing in the classroom with some bigger activity:
The big circle in the middle with shapes around its circumference can be used in a million different ways - I'm looking forward to seeing what the kids do with it in their unstructured recess time - but it is also potentially a classroom tool. We painted enough shapes so that a whole class could be in the circle, with every child and teacher standing on their own shape. Teachers can teach math this way, good for the physical learners in the class: "Everyone standing on a shape with three sides, jump up and down!" Or they can just use it as an outside classroom space in warm weather, where every child has a distinct place to sit and listen without anyone else on top of them. Lots of possibilities.
The three big, empty shapes are the most open-ended activities on the playground. I envisioned them being a jumping-off point for the kids' chalk drawings - you can see part of my original proposal below, where I had Stella do exactly that, but with pen - but they could also be "bases" in a tag game, or three houses for three little pigs, or anything really...
And then, of course, there's my personal favorite: the footprint path. I talked about it already a couple days ago, here. Turned out even better than I could have imagined.
So there you have it! An amazing opportunity and a fantastic result. I couldn't be happier!