Welcome to the process, this project is ongoing.....

The Children Belong to the City Playground project builds on existing efforts to connect children at the Burlington Children’s Space and local outdoor spaces including the Intervale gardens and walking paths, local community garden sites, public parks and green spaces, and the city’s waterfront. The focus of this project is the development of a new playground for The Burlington Children’s Space incorporating elements from public spaces around the city that promote open ended play, physical challenges, and interest in the natural world throughout the seasons. Children, teachers, and parents will be involved in various outings to observe, play, and collect ideas. The process provides many opportunities for children, teachers and parents to share healthy activities such as neighborhood walks, visits to parks and gardens, and open ended outdoor play.

On May 4 teachers, parents , and playground designers met to decide on next steps. We gave feedback on the final plan and discussed the feasibility of keeping part of the playground open while construction is under way ( we think it can be done). We decided, primarily because of logistics, to begin with the infant area and work toward the preschool. The infant garden will be phase one and we will include the tree house if our budget goes that far.

The next step will be to meeting with contractors ( Jon and Danielle are coordinating this) and , with the contractor's help, developing a list of materials we can ask local businesses to donate. We have to coordinate donations carefully so that we get materials the contractor(s) can use and at a time when they can be used without having to be stored. Soon a donation area will be up and running on our winwinapps so that friends and donors can sponsor an element of the playground and help us stretch our budget.

We're skipping ahead to show off the plans

On April 1 We held a family dinner to reveal the plans. While slurping squash soup, and eating fresh bread and cheese we had a look.

View the full set of plans by using the link under "More information about programs and projects".

We played around with our ideas

After collecting all of our ideas we hired Jon Adams-Kollitz and Danielle Allen,from Stratiform Landworks, to create a working plan. Jon and Danielle were excited about working with us and they donated many hours of their time to host interactive design charettes with parents, children and staff. The understood that the planning of the playground was as important to us as the end result. The playground will be a reflection of our connection to the world we are exploring, the people we know and love, and the rituals we are creating together. We wanted a design process that allowed us to deepen our understanding of these values.

For our designs we used natural materials, found objects, and lots blocks from Learning Materials Workshop, an excellent source of blocks and learning tools right across the street from our school. Karen Hewitt, the owner of LMW , has been working on many projects at BCS involving researching new toys she is designing and studying the ways children are using blocs to understand the world. Karen Even held a design session for teachers where we created playgrounds for spiders, snakes, and bugs.

We took all of our ideas and created models of our dream playground. Jon and Danielle built a model of the school that we could add to and manipulate. We documented these planning sessions, took notes about the ideas we liked the most, and told a lot of stories about what we would do there some day.