Thursday, May 23, 2013

Taking It Back To The Beginning

The playground. How should it be designed? Who should design it? What should it include? What purpose(s) does it serve?

Each of these questions has run through IslandWood Graduate Student Mallory Primm’s mind countless times. However, for Primm, thought became action and action materialized into the actual creation of a playground-like space. Working with St. Edward’s School, Seattle-based architecture firm Mithun, and numerous individuals from IslandWood, Primm has turned her passion into a reality.

 As depicted in the image below, Primm's playground was created in a 30 foot by 100 foot space (between and below points A and B) directly beside St. Edward's School.

“Working on the playground for my independent study project has been such synergy for me,” comments Primm. “It’s been a way for me to translate my learning at IslandWood into a real world application. Even more so, it has been an amazing realization that I can be what I want to be when I grow up, a playground designer!”

 Just as her instructors have created an intentional learning environment for Primm, she has created what she hopes is a similar environment for children.

“ I hope this becomes an amazing place for pre-schoolers to learn on their own by interacting with the space and with each other,” says Primm.

So what exactly makes this space so special? Let us take a tour of some before and after photographs!

End Before 

Corridor Before

 End AfterAfter!

According to Primm, every part of the space has a purpose and a use. Secret spots allow for hidden adventure. Sensory plants awaken emotion and connect learning in the brain. An interactive web promotes creativity and connectivity. And prayer flags made by each student at St. Edward's School release wishes for the space into the wind.

“It was such an effort of the community and my fellow graduate students, teachers, volunteers, and mentors were indispensable in this project,” reflects Primm. “I learned so much: how to splice rope, how to organize a work party, how to think and play like a 5 year old, and how to ask for help when I need it.”

 Christine & Shelley
Two of IslandWood's graduate students volunteering on a fine Saturday morning.

“I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to put learning into action and give back to the students who have taught me so much this year.”

The playground. It should be designed with intention. It should be designed by passionate individuals, a.k.a. Mallory Primm. And, it should include purposeful and deliberate elements.

What purpose does it serve? Ask yourself this question the next time you come upon a playground or place space. If something is amiss or missing, follow Primm's lead and do something about it! Playgrounds are important!


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