Over 250 current and alumni families, past and present faculty members of Evergreen Montessori School in Silver Spring, Maryland dedicated a new custom-designed Tree House play structure in honor of the 30-year career of Primary Division Director Marilynn Liotta. The dedication of the Tree House took place at the school’s annual Spring Festival and featured a violin recital and choral concert. Guest speakers included Mrs. Lynn Pellaton who served as Head of School from 1972 to 1996.
The Tree House is all natural and was constructed from sustainably harvested Black Locust logs and Osage Orange branches. The Tree House is a permanent part of the school’s award-winning rain garden and was built by local craftsman Marcus Sims. Ms. Liotta is retiring at the end of the school year.
You can learn just about anything by playing with blocks: physics, geometry, leadership, project management, team work, cooperation and more. I am thrilled to introduce new outdoor construction blocks called Outlast Blocks to the playground and Rain Garden at Evergreen School this week. The blocks are made by Community Playthings to be safe for Toddlers through Elementary. The blocks will add one more creative play option to our playground. The blocks support the play theory of ‘loose parts‘ that has guided the Evergreen playground design for many years.
Here’s our new play structure– The Tree House– being installed. It is about as natural and organic as anything you would find in an Appalachian forest. As an Evergreen parent wrote… “How COOL is that!”
This 18-foot tall play sculpture was custom-designed by Bill Hutchens and is being installed by Marcus Sims and Allan Hill. The Tree House consists of four platforms, rope ladders and a slide. It is made of black locust trunks and Osage Orange branches and pressure treated decking lumber.
When I told some children that we were going to call it The Tree House, they corrected me: “It’s a fortress.” “It’s a tower.” “No, its a pirate ship.” It’s as mutable and whimsical as imagination itself.
Whenever I see a child working with such intensity and purpose, I am reminded of the power of the human spirit.
This stump will be moved!
It has been a while since I posted to my blog, but not because I haven’t been writing. I just completed two courses at Montgomery College, and both required long term papers based on very specific content requirements. My creative energy was sapped.
But when I came across an article in the New York Times on the Carnegie Museum’s Playground Project on the history of playground design, I began to feel free enough to write again.
The article traces the roots of the Evergreen Garden and Playground concept to the Danish landscape architect in the 1930’s named Carl Theodor Sorensen. According to the Times, Sorensen, “advanced the radical notion that children were happiest when playing with junk.” Toward the end of World War II, he began designing playgrounds that encouraged children to build, dig and create with natural and man-made materials including bricks and building debris. He called these new spaces skrammellegeplads or “junk playgrounds.”
Whether writing, building, cooking, making music or any other creative pursuit, we all need a skrammellegeplad… a safe place to play and try things out.
Learning and playing are acts of freedom. It is great to be free.
The Evergreen community spent an enchanted evening “down the rabbit hole” at the Wonderland Auction on April 27. Thanks to the creative energy of our wonderful auction committee, guests were treated to phantasmagorical night like no other.
Cheers to all the volunteers and supporters who made the event possible.
Special thanks to Kim Cantor, Donna Kerr, Anke Mann, Jen Rusiecki, Joy McCarty, Cori Lathan, and Christopher Mattox for their organizational skills and pure energy.
Over $10,000 was raised to support the children and programs of Evergreen School, including $3,500 direct support for our playground and garden.
See the gallery below and more event pictures here.