PCDC Early Head Start
The baby-friendly natural play space at this Early Head Start Center offers a gentle invitation to the youngest children to explore and discover large and small spaces, active and quiet spaces, places for outdoor building and creating and spots for imaginary, sensory and physical play.
Adjacent to a new set of toddler height steps, a ball roll is built into the handrail so children can explore gravity by rolling balls down the channel.
The steps connect to the loop path which carries foot and riding toy traffic around the space, connecting a variety of elements to support children and adults spending time in the out-of-doors. The multi-textured circular path includes sections of inset brick, river rock, sparkling colorful gems,
The first area one encounters along the path is a quiet grassy corner with a low hammock that can hold one or two children, a child
A child-height marimba
Further along the sensory path in the southwest corner of the
A pair of playhouses on the edge of the sand area support imaginary play, language
The active play area includes a tunnel for crawling through and a constructed hill with an embankment slide and a stump scramble –a set of different height and diameter tree stumps set into the hillside for climbing.
A shelter frame can be embellished with fabric, ribbons, or other materials to create a sense of enclosure. Nearby is a swinging bench, which provides soothing movement opportunities. This is a place for children and adults to sit together for relaxing, conversation, and storytime.
In the center of the loop path is an open lawn space for crawling, toddling and running. In one portion of the lawn there are two cruising bars, pipe rails held up by wood posts to support cruising babies. Finally, a low grassy hill offers a sloping surface to climb up and roll down, a different vantage point for surveying the space and a destination for cloud watching.
Child-friendly plantings of trees, shrubs, grasses and perennials provide shade, edibles, fragrance and seasonal color throughout the space.