Latin School Gets New Play Garden

Jun 25, 2019

We've been thrilled to work with the Latin School of Chicago on a new play garden for their lower school. The garden, which occupies the grounds of the former Lurie Mansion at 1547 N Dearborn, was designed according to the principles of Reggio Emilia, an approach towards early childhood education that encourages children to construct their own learning through play and exchange with each other, as well as the teacher. In this context, the environment is the third teacher, meant to inspire and encourage children to delve deeper and deeper into their interests. To that end, our proposal includes a colorful ground plane that can be interpreted at once as a game board, meandering path, and geometric pattern. Within this field lies a raised garden, sunken classroom, climbing wall, and serpentine seating. A variety of textures and materials has been employed as well, between rocks, crushed stone, mulch, and wooden surfaces of varying textures. A stage for theatrical performances and a spontaneous orchestra pit round out some of the opportunities for play and engagement.