Every time I say this out loud, I knock on wood: "My clients are each uniquely amazing and inspiring." I'm truly charmed to be connecting with each and every one of them through this work. My current client is so incredible, they've inspired me to finally start blogging for CHEERIUP. Here goes...
PRETEXT: When CHEERIUP was featured in the New York Times, I received many incredible inquiries, but two in particular were so powerful they literally brought tears to my eyes. One was from Jennifer Winters, the Director of Bing Nursery School at Stanford University. She requested three Thickets for Bing, one for each of the three half-acre green space yards of each of the three preschool rooms. (Yup. Each classroom has it's own half-acre of green space to play in.) We ended up having an energetic chat about kids in Thickets and all that happens at Bing. It was an instant connection.
From my own nerding-out on Early Childhood research as a parent, I knew of Bing. It's a place where early childhood development has been researched and honored since the 1960's. Many of the major pieces of research in child development, known throughout the world, have been conducted at Bing Nursery School. Alongside the research, thoughtful design has always been honored at Bing–from the tools, toys, materials, and furnishings in the classroom to the architectural and landscape design of it's environment. Their philosophy inspires me as a parent and aligns with my own, in terms of my own child's education. To be invited to make a footprint here, in these open and free yards, is a tremendous honor and deeply affirming. Sigh.
NOW: After months of planning, and harvesting, and weaving, I'm finally here in Palo Alto, California. Tomorrow I start my first official day constructing the "West" classroom's Thicket. I toured the grounds today to assess site logistics. I'm already overwhelmed with every nook and cranny of this dreamy place, and it's not even inhabited by humans yet. (Although there are plenty of chickens and bunnies!) This place is bursting with a high level of intention, honor, and care–from the current community here, and from decades of folks who've dedicated themselves to the magic moment of early childhood. I'm excited to share my experience working with them. And I'm THRILLED my own daughter will be coming to visit and get to soak up a bit of this special time and place.