Boulder Civic Area Project with Prekindergarteners and their Families
Several design teams used the project Guiding Principles to create designs for the Boulder Civic Area. The designs were posted on the Inspire Boulder website and opened for public comment.
On January 24, the children and teachers reviewed several of the designs:
Catalytic Project: Cultivate, Educate, Celebrate
Finn: “What is that thing where you can find places where you are digging? (referring to the picture of the mining play space) I think that mining should be [in the Civic Area].”
Wyatt: “Yeah, we have to get that mining!”
This plan featured many things the children love to do, and things that made them curious. It also featured many ideas they had discussed during our field trips to visit this space in the Fall of 2012. This was the project that appeared to take the youth ideas into account in the strongest way. Thus, it is not surprising that this was their favorite design. The children were intrigued by the opportunity to learn about mining. In fact, they brought mining into conversations about each subsequent design we examined. They also loved all the different gardens, and had lots of questions about what types of plants would be there. They also loved the different natural places to play and climb.
Vision Project: From the Linear Park to the Central Park
Finn: “I guess that’s the space where you are around trains. I guess that’s one of the old steam engines. I want there to be a space where you climb in the trains and push the buttons and levers.”
Wyatt: “I want a park that has kid size computers, and I can change the ideas of what you want to do.”
Henry: “I want a train set with a bunch of trains and tons of trains cars, and you press the buttons and remote controls.”
Wyatt: “I want a theater to be there. Will that theater be for kids?”
Finn: “I want the coal mine (from “Cultivate, Educate, Celebrate”) and the place where you can climb in the train.”
The children were very drawn to the trains in this project. They were drawn to the remnants of train tracks in the current space when we visited it. They often speculated about ways to use those tracks and get more trains there. Thus, they were very excited to see trains in this design.
They were also drawn to the proposed theater space in the design. We speculate this is because they really enjoyed playing in the bandshell that currently sits in the space.
Catalytic Project: Light Art
Finn: “Hey, what are those? What are those blue things?”
(Teacher explains the various light features.)
Wyatt: “And we can jump on those things?”
Finn: “I want that light-up space.”
Noah: “I want to play on those jumpy things.”
The children loved this plan. They were drawn to the graphics, but also to the idea of being able to interact with the different lights. Throughout the course of this project, they talked about light in the space often. They were usually referring to the sun and the shadows it makes, so we think both the possibility of visiting this space at night and the possibility of actually manipulating the lights intrigued them.
Catalytic Project: Kids, Art, Trash, and Business
Finn: “I want that to be there. That you could build stuff with all the recycled materials.”
The children really liked the idea of being able to work with recycled materials in this space. They expressed tons of interest in building and creation when we visited the space. They also talked about adding opportunities to create things in the space, and wanted everyone who visited to be able to create things (including children, adults, and workers). They found this design intriguing, as it would provide those opportunities.