site site site site site site site site site


Windy Hill School
New London, NH


The Windy Hill School is an early childhood laboratory school on the Colby-Sawyer College campus in New London, NH. An integral part of the colleges Social Sciences and Education Department, the lab school is comprised of distinct programs: a toddler program, a nursery school program, a primary program, and after-school program. The school was recognized with Silver Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification but the exterior environment was lacking in play and learning opportunities for the children.

Soon after the building was completed Naturally Rooted LLC was retained to redesign the outdoor play yard. The site was a challenge for the children to use due to the topography of the site—two levels separated by a steep slope. The concept that materialized incorporated the reused play structure and many more nature based learning and play opportunities for the wide range of ages and abilities.

Items listed by the director and staff on their “wish list” that were incorporated into the design include an observation deck, an embankment slide, a sand play area, tunnels and a canopied structure for protection from the weather. The problem of access to both levels was solved with an accessible pathway and a more challenging connection where children can scramble over boulders. As the scope of the project was beyond the budget of the school, a phased approach was adopted with the first phase being completed in the summer of 2013.

photo photo photo

“Whatever landscape a child is exposed to…that will be the gauze through which he or she will see all the world.”

Wallace Stegner

childcare center preschool elementary school