The outside space at Fort Hill is carefully designed and is an integral part of the program. Every classroom has access to the playground - the infant/toddler classrooms have a space designed especially for our youngest children and the preschoolers have a space for more challenging experiences. Children go outside every day - rain or shine! Our motto is the Norwegian adage "There's no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing!"
The playgrounds feature plantings and stones, tricycle paths, gazebos, swings, sand, climbers, musical instruments, and spaces for reading and quiet activities. Large lawn areas leave room for spontaneous and cooperative games and parachute play.
The Playground Project began in the spring of 2005 when
a Playground committee was formed to plan for developing the playgrounds at the new facility.
The committee, which included parents, teachers and Smith faculty members, worked with Denig Design Associates to plan a playground
that reflects the rich history of the Fort Hill site and combines structures with naturalized
Through this effort, several collaborations developed,
including the Space of Repose project with Gretchen Schneider and architecture students, and
the Playground Project 180 course with Nina Antonetti (landscape studies), Susan Etheredge (education
and child study), Linda Jones (engineering) and Gretchen Schneider (architecture).
The gardens in the playgrounds are developed and maintained by Smith College students participating in the Praxis program. Beginning in 2006, Smith students have worked closely with the Botanic Garden and Fort Hill staff to implement landscape architect Nancy Denig's (Smith '68) design and to bring their own creativity to the site.