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Prince George's County Employee's Childcare Center

Upper Marlboro, MD USA

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Playground Overview

Prince George's County Employee's Childcare Center in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, was formerly a prison. Today it is an imaginative garden that grows the young minds and bodies of kids ages 6 months to 5 years. The courtyard is divided into four play areas, where kids follow the journey of a caterpillar becoming a butterfly. A larger-than-life caterpillar crawl tunnel welcomes explorers into an enormous, interactive garden. PlayBooster® playstructures are outfitted with flowers, ladybugs, bees, ants, mushrooms and leaves to create an immersive outdoor experience. As they travel through the garden—climbing giant blades of grass, playing in the butterfly-shaped sandbox and sliding down a flower petal—kids learn the skills they need to transition into kindergarten.


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Playground Details

  • Age Ranges

    • 6 to 23 months
    • 2 to 5 Years
  • Design Standards

  • ASTM
  • Installed

  • May 2014
  • Design/CAD Files

  • Min Area Required

  • Total Area: 90' x 68' (27,43 m x 20,73 m)
    2-5 Area B: 45' x 26' (13,72 m x 7,92 m)
    2-5 Area C: 45' x 42' (13,72 m x 12,8 m)

  • Project Price Range
  • Pricing for custom playground equipment varies. For international and exact pricing, please contact your local playground consultant.

  • Contact Your Consultant
See Color Inspiration

Playground products shown in video may not be appropriate for every age group. Playsystems shown in video are for demonstration purposes only. Product configurations may vary.

Video features the imaginative garden themed Landscape Structures playground at the Prince George’s Childcare Center in Upper Marlboro Maryland.

[video: fade in to a close-up of red flowers in a garden, fade out. Fade in to a garden flag that reads: Love the Earth. Fade in to a DigiFuse sign with an image of butterflies sitting on flowers in a garden. The sign reads: Butterfly Habitat, Butterflies like to live in warm, sunny gardens where there are lots of colorful flowers and plants.]

[video: camera comes into focus on a wood door painted with a character made to look like a grandma waving out a window. Fade into a red and silver pinwheel spinning in the breeze. Fade into a close-up of purple and yellow flowers.]

[video: Brenda Iraola a Landscape Architecture Supervisor for the Park Planning and Development Division speaks to the camera. She stands in front of the PlayBooster playground with children playing while she speaks.]

Brenda: This is an amazing project. This project started because we do imagination themed playgrounds for Prince George’s County.

[video: camera switches to the wood sign outside the playground fence that reads: Prince George’s County, Employees’ Child Care Center.]

Brenda: We went ahead and asked the daycare staff here what imagination theme they would like.

Brenda voiceover: They said a storybook theme. And we did Grandma Story garden caterpillars and butterflies.

[video: camera pans across a group of children as they sit on different shaped seat/steppers. They listen to a teacher as she sits in a large wooden chair reading a book. Camera switches to a side view of the children sitting on their seats listing to the teacher read a book. Camera switches to Lynn Baldwin a Childcare coordinator at the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission as she speaks to the camera.]

Lynn: It’s one of the most heavily used playgrounds actually in Prince George’s County,

Lynn voiceover: because a hundred children use it three or four times a day.

[video: a woman opens a gate on a white fence as a line of children rush in to the play area. A line of children skip down a side walk to the play area.]

Brenda voiceover: There’s actually three playgrounds in this area. So, the first playground is the beginning of their childhood six months to twenty-three months.

[video: camera switches to a slide incorporated into the side of a small hill. Children walk up the hill and slide down the slide. Camera switches to play structure with large themed flower posts. Children climb and run around the play structure.  Camera switches to a grass themed playground area. Children walk up to the different play structure. Camera switches back to Brenda briefly as she explains the playgrounds. Scene switch to a young boy as he crawls through a crawl tunnel towards the camera. A young girl stands by the head of the caterpillar crawl tunnel.]

Brenda voiceover: The second one is the two to three-year-old and then that last one is after they’re three years old so three to five basically when they start school.

[video: a woman pushes two girls as they sit in full bucket seat infant swings. Switch to side view of two girls as they slide down a small double slide. Camera switch to the grass themed playground where a boy and girl slide down the double swirl slide. Before the two children reach the end of the slide another boy quickly slides down towards them. Camera switches back to Lynn speaking to the camera.]

Lynn: We put a lot of learning into the environment-

Lynn voiceover: and a lot of environment into the learning at the same times.

[video: a young girl sits in front of the camera while she listens to the teacher as she reads a book to the class. Camera pulls back for a side view of the story time area as children jump up and down like frogs as their teacher reads them a book about frogs.]

Brenda voiceover: So, one of the things that Landscape Structures sparks at play did was to actually create custom panels for me.

[video: camera pans down from a climber shaped like a large blade of grass as a boy climbs down the foot holds. A young girl bounces in a bumblebee spring rider. Front view of a boy as he slides down one of the three slides incorporated into a small hill. Camera switches back to Brenda speaking to the camera.]

Benda: One of the panels is this really cool butterfly.

Brenda voiceover: they have to play on that have to play on equipment to find the bugs so there’s six ladybugs, four ants, and two something else.

[video: a young girl climbs up towards the camera on a Lady Bug Leaf climber. Camera switches back to Brenda as she lists the different bugs the children can find on the playground.]

Brenda voiceover: It’s just such a cool thing but you have to play to find it.

[video: children walk around the play area where the caterpillar crawl tunnel is located. A line of children crawls together through the caterpillar crawl tunnel. Camera comes into focus on a line of children as they take turns crawling up the Lady Bug leaf climber.

Lynn voiceover: They can climb up they can use a mushroom staircase they can use an abacus to count out bumblebees and flowers. They’re using the equipment for learning while they play.]

[video: camera close-up of a young girl’s feet as she climbs up a cozy climber. Camera switch to a mushroom stepper. Camera switches to children running up and down the stairs of the playground. Top down view of a young girl standing on a leaf stepper, she steps off the leaf and runs off camera. Camera switch to two talk tubes shaped like flowers. Close-up of a boy’s hands as he grabs onto the Kaleidospin panel. The boy pulls his hands back, another boy peaks through the viewing whole into the Kaleidospin panel. Camera switches back to Lynn as she finishes speaking.]

[video: a young girl speaks to the camera.]

Girl: I like the swings. The pickles.

[video: two girls swing on a swing set where the posts are shaped and painted like giant pickles. A young girl pushes her friend on the pickle swing set. Camera switches to a group of kids as they jump up and down excitedly as they speak to the camera.]

Girl 2: We love it so much, this is a new playground.

Boy: I love this playground so much!

[video: side view of a young boy as he climbs up a climber on the grass themed playground. A boy holds onto the large grass blade climber as he stands on the last possible foot hold. Camera pans up as a boy climbs up a large grass blade climber.]

[video: a young girl squishes her nose up against the bubble panel. She laughs as her and a boy smile through the bubble at the camera. A young girl leans into the bottom of a tube slide. She quickly backs up as a girl slides down towards her. Scene switch to a young girl as she steps up the playgrounds stairs one step at a time. A group of children sit on a bench next to the Kaleidospin panel.]

[video: a young boy slides down a double slide away from the camera. Close-up of a young boy’s legs as he bounces in the bumblebee spring rider. Fade into two children as they hold onto a woman’s hands while walking across the play area. A young girl smiles at the camera while sitting at the bottom of a slide. A young boy sitting in the bumblebee spring rider smiles at the camera.]

Boy: I like caterpillars.

[video: a young boy sitting on the ground looks around the play area. A young girl leans her chin on the playground stair banister.  Close-up of a young boy as he waves to the camera. Camera switches to a mural painted brick wall. Words at the bottom of the wall read: Playground design. Brenda Iraola Architect, Mural design and paintings by Lynn Baldwin and Christine Hill 2013, M-NCPPC.]

[video: fade to black, Landscape Structures logo appears with text below reading: Better playground, better world. A butterfly silhouette flies up and around the Landscape Structures logo, finally landing on the “D” in playground.]

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Sparks@Play, LLC
3705 Crondall Ln
Owings Mills, MD 21117
USA
Phone 410-356-4151
info@sparksatplay.com
www.sparksatplay.com

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Metamorphosis

From Prison Yard to Grandma's Yard

A former prison might seem an odd place for a childcare center. But places change over time, as do the people that inhabit those places. And when those people are between the ages of 6 months and 5 years, they experience a lot of change in a short amount of time.

Playground products shown in video may not be appropriate for every age group. Playsystems shown in video are for demonstration purposes only. Product configurations may vary.

Video features the imaginative garden themed Landscape Structures playground at the Prince George’s Childcare Center in Upper Marlboro Maryland.

[video: fade in to a close-up of red flowers in a garden, fade out. Fade in to a garden flag that reads: Love the Earth. Fade in to a DigiFuse sign with an image of butterflies sitting on flowers in a garden. The sign reads: Butterfly Habitat, Butterflies like to live in warm, sunny gardens where there are lots of colorful flowers and plants.]

[video: camera comes into focus on a wood door painted with a character made to look like a grandma waving out a window. Fade into a red and silver pinwheel spinning in the breeze. Fade into a close-up of purple and yellow flowers.]

[video: Brenda Iraola a Landscape Architecture Supervisor for the Park Planning and Development Division speaks to the camera. She stands in front of the PlayBooster playground with children playing while she speaks.]

Brenda: This is an amazing project. This project started because we do imagination themed playgrounds for Prince George’s County.

[video: camera switches to the wood sign outside the playground fence that reads: Prince George’s County, Employees’ Child Care Center.]

Brenda: We went ahead and asked the daycare staff here what imagination theme they would like.

Brenda voiceover: They said a storybook theme. And we did Grandma Story garden caterpillars and butterflies.

[video: camera pans across a group of children as they sit on different shaped seat/steppers. They listen to a teacher as she sits in a large wooden chair reading a book. Camera switches to a side view of the children sitting on their seats listing to the teacher read a book. Camera switches to Lynn Baldwin a Childcare coordinator at the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission as she speaks to the camera.]

Lynn: It’s one of the most heavily used playgrounds actually in Prince George’s County,

Lynn voiceover: because a hundred children use it three or four times a day.

[video: a woman opens a gate on a white fence as a line of children rush in to the play area. A line of children skip down a side walk to the play area.]

Brenda voiceover: There’s actually three playgrounds in this area. So, the first playground is the beginning of their childhood six months to twenty-three months.

[video: camera switches to a slide incorporated into the side of a small hill. Children walk up the hill and slide down the slide. Camera switches to play structure with large themed flower posts. Children climb and run around the play structure.  Camera switches to a grass themed playground area. Children walk up to the different play structure. Camera switches back to Brenda briefly as she explains the playgrounds. Scene switch to a young boy as he crawls through a crawl tunnel towards the camera. A young girl stands by the head of the caterpillar crawl tunnel.]

Brenda voiceover: The second one is the two to three-year-old and then that last one is after they’re three years old so three to five basically when they start school.

[video: a woman pushes two girls as they sit in full bucket seat infant swings. Switch to side view of two girls as they slide down a small double slide. Camera switch to the grass themed playground where a boy and girl slide down the double swirl slide. Before the two children reach the end of the slide another boy quickly slides down towards them. Camera switches back to Lynn speaking to the camera.]

Lynn: We put a lot of learning into the environment-

Lynn voiceover: and a lot of environment into the learning at the same times.

[video: a young girl sits in front of the camera while she listens to the teacher as she reads a book to the class. Camera pulls back for a side view of the story time area as children jump up and down like frogs as their teacher reads them a book about frogs.]

Brenda voiceover: So, one of the things that Landscape Structures sparks at play did was to actually create custom panels for me.

[video: camera pans down from a climber shaped like a large blade of grass as a boy climbs down the foot holds. A young girl bounces in a bumblebee spring rider. Front view of a boy as he slides down one of the three slides incorporated into a small hill. Camera switches back to Brenda speaking to the camera.]

Benda: One of the panels is this really cool butterfly.

Brenda voiceover: they have to play on that have to play on equipment to find the bugs so there’s six ladybugs, four ants, and two something else.

[video: a young girl climbs up towards the camera on a Lady Bug Leaf climber. Camera switches back to Brenda as she lists the different bugs the children can find on the playground.]

Brenda voiceover: It’s just such a cool thing but you have to play to find it.

[video: children walk around the play area where the caterpillar crawl tunnel is located. A line of children crawls together through the caterpillar crawl tunnel. Camera comes into focus on a line of children as they take turns crawling up the Lady Bug leaf climber.

Lynn voiceover: They can climb up they can use a mushroom staircase they can use an abacus to count out bumblebees and flowers. They’re using the equipment for learning while they play.]

[video: camera close-up of a young girl’s feet as she climbs up a cozy climber. Camera switch to a mushroom stepper. Camera switches to children running up and down the stairs of the playground. Top down view of a young girl standing on a leaf stepper, she steps off the leaf and runs off camera. Camera switch to two talk tubes shaped like flowers. Close-up of a boy’s hands as he grabs onto the Kaleidospin panel. The boy pulls his hands back, another boy peaks through the viewing whole into the Kaleidospin panel. Camera switches back to Lynn as she finishes speaking.]

[video: a young girl speaks to the camera.]

Girl: I like the swings. The pickles.

[video: two girls swing on a swing set where the posts are shaped and painted like giant pickles. A young girl pushes her friend on the pickle swing set. Camera switches to a group of kids as they jump up and down excitedly as they speak to the camera.]

Girl 2: We love it so much, this is a new playground.

Boy: I love this playground so much!

[video: side view of a young boy as he climbs up a climber on the grass themed playground. A boy holds onto the large grass blade climber as he stands on the last possible foot hold. Camera pans up as a boy climbs up a large grass blade climber.]

[video: a young girl squishes her nose up against the bubble panel. She laughs as her and a boy smile through the bubble at the camera. A young girl leans into the bottom of a tube slide. She quickly backs up as a girl slides down towards her. Scene switch to a young girl as she steps up the playgrounds stairs one step at a time. A group of children sit on a bench next to the Kaleidospin panel.]

[video: a young boy slides down a double slide away from the camera. Close-up of a young boy’s legs as he bounces in the bumblebee spring rider. Fade into two children as they hold onto a woman’s hands while walking across the play area. A young girl smiles at the camera while sitting at the bottom of a slide. A young boy sitting in the bumblebee spring rider smiles at the camera.]

Boy: I like caterpillars.

[video: a young boy sitting on the ground looks around the play area. A young girl leans her chin on the playground stair banister.  Close-up of a young boy as he waves to the camera. Camera switches to a mural painted brick wall. Words at the bottom of the wall read: Playground design. Brenda Iraola Architect, Mural design and paintings by Lynn Baldwin and Christine Hill 2013, M-NCPPC.]

[video: fade to black, Landscape Structures logo appears with text below reading: Better playground, better world. A butterfly silhouette flies up and around the Landscape Structures logo, finally landing on the “D” in playground.]

Growing Kids

The teachers and administration at Prince George’s County Employee’s Childcare Center, in Upper Marlboro, Md., have been celebrated by parents for cultivating a creative and loving environment for early childhood growth.

The school is attached to the County Courthouse and has cared for the children of many government employees over the years, including those of landscape architect supervisor, Brenda Iraola. So it became a very personal project when she was asked to help the staff re-imagine their existing play environment.

The Journey Begins

Drawing on the memories of her grandmother Freda’s farm in Minnesota, Brenda "With Landscape Structures, I don’t feel any limitation." Brenda Iraola,landscape architect supervisor, MNCPP developed a fresh narrative for this space around the theme of Transformation. The courtyard was divided into four play areas, where kids followed the journey of a caterpillar becoming a butterfly.

A Bugs-Eye View

“Everything is an experience for a child. An adult uses the crosswalk, a child hops across each line,” said Brenda. And with the help of Landscape Structures, these children experience “Grammy’s Garden” from a bugs-eye view.

A larger-than-life caterpillar welcomes explorers into an enormous, interactive garden. Playstructures are outfitted with flowers, ladybugs, bees, ants, mushrooms and leaves to create an immersive storybook experience.

As they travel through the garden, kids learn the skills they need to transition into kindergarten. From counting to colors, to letters to imaginative play: children grow and develop together.

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A World of Detail

Getting the details just right was important to Brenda and her team. From three-dimensional pickles and lollipops to placing climbing grips and caterpillar eggs on enormous leaves sprouting from the ground, Landscape Structures found creative solutions to bring the concept to life.

"If you have a vision, Landscape Structures will work with you to bring it to life." Isaac Sparks Head of Sales, Sparks at Play

“Working with Landscape Structures is great. They don’t restrict the ability to be creative with clients,” says Isaac Sparks, head of sales with Sparks @Play. “They’re not going to tell you no.”

As the little caterpillars sit upon their pieces of fruit for story-time, reminders of who they’re still becoming stretch across the formerly imposing walls. The walls have become canvases. The space has been transformed. This garden hums with curiosity. And the children begin to stretch their wings.

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