For the week of May 5th I'm working with Waitsfield Elementary PreK-6th grade students, their parents and school personnel to develop a natural playground.

In preparation,  the students built models and drew pictures of how they envisioned their natural playground. 

Day 1

Started by introducing the students to stones. Everyone built towers as high as they could as we worked together to learn about how to balance and support stacks of stones and how to build with forms.

Then we measured and laid out the spiral wall. Throughout the day everyone asked great questions.

By the days end we were all a bit cold and dirty though happiness too was prevalent.

This project is the brain child of three architect parents, the principal, the art teacher and myself. Open conversations regarding form and function have been regular so as to ensure all opinions are taken into account.

Initial layout drawing by parent of engaged student.

Initial layout drawing by parent of engaged student.

Day 2 

On Tuesday we took arch building to the next level. Several students after school built arches to completion. One young boy in particular chose to build an arch much bigger than himself and met which success, becoming the youngest archer I've worked with. 

I find these students uninhibited and more open to exploration than many adults. They choose team work over independent tasks. Hustling in pairs to add stones with such haste to the wall. Tugging stones, with unparalleled enthusiasm. 

Day 3

Students have a half day today, so we spent the morning exploring the security of the arch and exerting energy by smashing rocks for hearting to put in the spiral wall.

Day 4

Adding height and finalizing the spiral wall is today's mission, paired with further exploration of arch building, and of course wheelbarrowing friends.

Day 5

Our final day working on the project. 

Looking back on the productive week it has been, I'm glad to have had this opportunity to work with so many engaged, hardworking, and imaginative students.