CHAPTER 6: SITE DESIGN
Tops of fence pickets must terminate at a horizontal member to protect
environment and provide a transition to the natural elements which children
against puncturing hazards. No horizontal elements that could be used as
often miss. They are also substantially less expensive than interior,
a ladder are to be included in the design of the fence. Walls adjacent to
conditioned space. If west facing glass is required, a connected covered
playgrounds must also not be able to be used for climbing so that children
porch at least 2400 mm wide will significantly reduce the air conditioning
could leave the center or injure themselves in a fall.
load and comfort level in the center.
Activity areas within the play yard should be placed near an element that
Provide shaded areas in play yards which should shade at least 25% of the
can be used as a point of reference by both children and teachers as they
play yard at noon on the Summer Solstice (June 21). At play yard concept
move throughout the different play areas. Entrance points, transition and
level the A/E must show that this will be the case. The following solar
staging areas, storage facilities, seating areas, overhead structures, trees,
declension website can be of use.
gathering areas, and larger play structures may all function as points of
reference or landmarks within the play yard.
Circulation within the play yard should branch throughout the various play
Specific play areas may be defined by several elements. Elements include
areas. Dedicated pathways and routes should be provided for play with
circulation paths, barriers, screens, structures, play equipment, plantings,
wheeled toys. These paths need to be a minimum of 1525 mm wide so
landscape forms, grade changes, and open buffer areas. Separation of
that two tricycles can pass each other. The circulation pathway is the primary
one play area from another should be subtle, leaving some visual, audible,
element that can tie the entire play yard together. Ideally the play yard must
and physical connections intact. Infant/toddler play yards must have a
have a minimum of two access points, one from the classroom into the
physical separation from preschoolers, for instance, a 915 mm high, non-
play yard, and one from the play yard outside to the site. The access point
wood, non-climbable fence with rounded corners and without splinters would
from the play yard to the site beyond must allow the retrieval of play
be an appropriate delineation.
equipment (balls, etc.). The design must accommodate the movement of
maintenance equipment into the play yard, and allow an emergency exit.
All access points to the play yard must be controlled and readily visible for
security purposes. The design of the play yard should accommodate the
The link between interior and exterior spaces may be a transitional area
movement of disabled children and adults through the play yard to the play
such as a deck or open vestibule. Transitional areas allow for a blend of
interior and exterior environments, and can function as a point of departure
or staging area for play yard excursions.
6.4.7 Site Furniture:
6.4.4 Porches and Decks:
Provide seating in a shaded area with views to other areas of the play yard.
These are desirable elements, particularly in areas which have weather
Children and teachers may sit and observe the activities of the play yard.
that can be problematic for outdoor play, such as the northwest with its
Children may talk with each other or with their teachers in a relaxed fashion
abundant rainfall, or the Great Lakes Region with its abundant snow. In
or perhaps have a story read to them by the teacher. Tables and chairs, a
the south and west, however, shaded decks are also very appropriate.
bench, or a picnic table may be furnished, allowing children, and occasionally
Porches easily lend themselves to nurturing activities and can be valuable
parents, to eat their lunch or snack, or to occupy themselves with drawing
for use on days when the weather will not permit full use of the play yard.
and other activities. Easels for open air painting are very desirable and
help to "soften" the feeling of centers whose surroundings may not easily
In areas with moderate temperatures for much of the year, such as Southern
promote the impression of a natural environment. Provide adequate
California, porches can be used as activity areas for virtually the entire
approach and fall zones for equipment and furniture, as prescribed by the
year. Porches are the architectural symbol par excellence of a nurturing
PBS-140 - July 2003