Neighborhood Design-Build Studio

Infant-Toddler Playcourt - Spring 1997

main project image

Site

Experimental Education Unit
University of Washington Campus, Seattle

Description

The EEU is part of the College of Education and serves as a training site and national model program for developing ways to better serve children with disabilities. Its programs are open to typically developing children and children with various developmental delays or disabilities.

The playcourt is as much an outdoor classroom as it is a playground. Covered by a fabric wing shaped awning which protects from rain but lets in soft light, teaching and curriculum can move outdoors to help infants and toddlers develop motor, social and educational skills for a smooth transition into preschool.

From a toddler sized fort the children can look out over a blue surface representing the ocean (made of ground up tires) toward an equally colorful mountain (covered with 3.5 inches of ground up tires). The children can climb up the mountain or through its cave, tunnel, and slide. In addition to the areas for gross motor activities, there's also an area for art. The mosaic mural on the wall has a chalkboard built into it so that children can draw and there's an easel. There's also a quiet area for kids, a parent and family area, a garden, and a sensory area to play with a variety of materials and textures.