Mercy Cares for Kids
Playscape in the heart of Community
This childcare center one part of a large charitable organization run by Catholic nuns – the “Sisters of Mercy”. The childcare center sits beside a hospital, a small college, and a retirement home for the nuns. We collaborated to create a new Preschool play area and an Infant-Toddler play area. The project was a huge community-built effort and the bulk of the work was completed by volunteers over a five-day period.
The first thing we did was to enlarge both areas (their old spaces were a bit cramped so they asked permission to expand. It was ok’d so we grabbed the space!) We built new rolling hill topography. Two hills now sport slides mounted in the side and a third “giant” hill was sculpted for wintertime sledding. Whoosh! They had an existing brick wall so we bolted climbing holds into it and added a soft surface underneath to create a side-to-side climbing wall traverse – a good physical challenge as well as a n intellectual game to strategize what holds to grab and how to move from one to another. We bought the climbing holds from www.cheapholds.com.
Other details include a huge sand area with a fabulous sand/water sculpture built by artist Sherri Warner Hunter. When a child presses the large button a small stream of water spirals out the top and makes its way down into the sand. The children discover that they can pile sand on teh sculpture and divert the water down various different channels and watch as it spills over mosaic’d waterfalls, sea shells, crystals, marbles and other sparkly delights. One the water hits the sand it’s a mudpie delight or a canal-builder’s dream.
New trees and a trellis provide shade and places to sit. With it’s close proximity to the retirement home we thought, “what a great intergenerational opportunity!” In the connected corner of the playscape we installed a large screened-in, wheel-chair accessible Gazebo for elders to come out and relax and watch the children at play. Raised planters skirt the perimeter so elders can do a little gardening with children….