Outdoor Discovery Center
Little Hawks Discovery Preschool is an award-winning nature-based preschool located on the beautiful Outdoor Discovery Center’s nature preserve. With a strong focus on nature-based play and experiential learning, the school has consistently seen enrollment climb which warranted a substantial expansion of the facilities. As part of this process, Little Hawks pushed to develop a nature play masterplan for their new building and a renovated play space for their existing building.
This one-of-a-kind setting sets the stage for one of the most immersive natural playgrounds in our portfolio. Through thoughtful manipulation of topography and a rich plant palette, the two natural playgrounds provide rich full-sensory engagement for users of all abilities and ages while serving as an extension of the indoor classrooms.
Project Background, Public Input and Goals:
Through engagement sessions and consultation sessions with the team at ODS were able to refine their mission for the space; create a space for art, music and drama to engage children who aren’t as interested in the typical play facilitated by traditional playground structures and give their children an opportunity to develop an authentic connection to nature. Beyond recess, the ODCMG had expressed interest in using the playground space for outdoor classrooms as well, which led to design adaptations and component that could host as an outdoor learning “hub”.