A city park for nature play
Constitution Gardens Park is the first city park in the National Capitol area with a focus on natural play. The design of Constitution Gardens Park celebrates the past, present and future of the Gaithersburg community by weaving together threads of sustainability with elements inspired by the cultural and natural history of the area. SEE PROJECT ››
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. SEE PROJECT ››
The Reading Garden
EarlySpace designed this courtyard to support all facets of literacy learning in a lush, rich and complex natural setting. There are areas for small and large group gatherings as well as intimate spaces for individual reading and quiet activity. Located outside the school library, the space surrounds children with nature in a whimsical, inspiring, print-rich environment. SEE PROJECT ››
Earlyspace worked with teachers and administrators, engineers, and local officials to create a whimsical natural playspace design that met the regulatory requirements for this environmentally sensitive space, while offering a range of opportunities to move, explore, play and learn. SEE PROJECT ››
A hillside playspace
EarlySpace worked with Lowell school to transform their hillside into an inviting space for preschoolers to play. There were two main areas– the steep hillside, and the flat space at the top of the hill. On the hill, children can slide down on two different slides, descend on a fallen tree, and climb up or down on a stump scramble, a boulder climb or use an alternating-leg-staircase. SEE PROJECT ››
A naturally built natural playspace
EarlySpace and this parent co-op preschool joined with Arlington County’s Department of Environmental Services to offer a series of green building classes that taught participants natural building techniques and provided labor for a community built playspace. SEE PROJECT ››
The Wetlands Learning Lab
What began as the search for a solution to a muddy problem on the edge of the schoolyard, turned into an exciting opportunity to do something big and really innovative. SEE PROJECT ››
Sustainability at the front door
Students and teachers from the Washington-Lee High School IB Environmental Systems classes put what they had studied in the classroom into action in this hands-on project to manage stormwater and reduce erosion at the front of the school. SEE PROJECT ››
Living Roof and Pond
This is the home and test garden of sustainable landscape designer Nancy Striniste and family. This award-winning garden is where clients visit to see many of the sustainable landscape ideas and native plants in Nancy’s designs. SEE PROJECT ››
Get our free guide:
Eight Essential Elements of Nature Play Spaces
along with "nature Play News", our quarterly newsletter!
Drew Model School
EarlySpace designed a courtyard to support all facets of literacy learning in a lush, rich and complex natural setting. There are areas for small and large group gatherings as well as intimate spaces for individual reading and quiet activity. Located outside the school library, the space surrounds children with nature in a whimsical, inspiring, print-rich environment.
One of two large gathering areas features a magical storyteller‘s chair and a ring of benches focused on a water circle, which evokes the sense of sitting around a campfire and listening to stories. A word walk with literary and grammatical terms engraved into the paving and a rustic bridge over the River of Words dry streambed with moveable engraved rocks draw children into the more private spaces, which include a
circular bench under a dogwood tree and bench swings facing Dragon Head Falls (the water source for the River of Words) named for the school’s mascot. Vertical chalkboard and magnetic work surfaces inspire creative compositions. A whimsical vine covered bower sparks imaginations and improvised storytelling. Mysterious quotes painted around the upper perimeter of the courtyard walls describe famous dragons in children‘s literature. While they may not know the source immediately, as they read throughout their childhoods they may come upon a familiar phrase and recognize it as one from their Reading Garden at Drew.
Courtyard plantings include a variety of native, fragrant, colorful shrubs, vines, perennials and groundcovers with a plant for each letter of the
alphabet. Every species is labeled with stories, uses, and scientific facts.
I was absolutely floored at what a beautiful space it now is. The concept, design, lay out, the peacefulness. I love, love, love the curved bridge, the fountain and winding creek, the design …it just took my breath away.