It is important to understand that this playground requires intensive design

It is important to understand that this playground

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It is important to understand that this playground requires intensive design participation and long term commitment by the community but the rewards are that having faith in young people can pay off. Students experience social, quiet and cognitive play in this environment They grow the produce, count it, pay for it or sell it, and even prepare meals in a school kitchen with it. Most importantly, the garden is a natural and cultural environment that provides a context in which human relationships can develop. Innovative Play Structures Research Project August, 2001 Page 28
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The Gateway School Landscape - St. Louis, Missouri The Gateway School Landscape Master Plan, designed by EDWA in St. Louis, is a project that exemplifies both educational and environmental innovation. The project was designed in conjunction with a well defined program developed by the Harris Stowe Teachers College and the students of Gateway School. The environmental components of note include: the Sun Pole, Windmill Weather Station, Salisbury Crag and Cascade, Castlewood Bluff, Gottigen Woods, Pond Overlook, Animal Trail and Gateway Prairie. Each of these elements reinforces an aspect of the environmental system such as solar cycles, seasonal changes, local topography and rock formation, water flow, wildlife habitat and regional ecological zones. Gateway Prairie combines native Missouri prairie grasses with wildflowers to replicate prairie habitat common to St. Louis prior to settlement. This area of the courtyard is alive with the sounds of birds and insects. The grasses are allowed to bleed into the woodland habitat creating an ecotone. Children play hide and seek in the grass, lie looking up at the sky in the grass, collect flowers and seeds, make crowns and wreaths and follow the changing moods of this habitat through all the seasons. The Garden of The Senses - Faelledspasken, Holland The Garden of the Senses in Faelledspasken, Holland is not only a mere playground but a garden designed for discovery. The garden aims to show nature in concert and contrast. The garden of the senses concept derives from the Dutch notion of ‘snoezeln’, meaning active and passive use of one’s senses. Innovative Play Structures Research Project August, 2001 Page 29
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In the Garden of the Senses, all the environmental attributes such as light quality, vegetation, water, texture, smell, etc. are amplified here as individual sensory experiences. The contrasts are the jolt required for introspection, imagination and play. Differences between light and shadow, rough and smooth, sour and sweet, soft and prickly create a stimulating play space for the entire family. Canadian Examples Canadians in British Columbia, especially, seem to be catching on to this innovative approach to playground development. In the past year, several projects worth noting have been developed or initiated in this province.
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