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June 13, 1974 - Image 6

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1974-06-13

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Page SIA


Thursday, June 13, 197/4

Studen t-designed equipment
sparks children's imaginati

Wanted: Creative University
students to build fantasy ma-
chines for creative little kids;
manual labour, irregular hours,
guaranteed frustration and no
At least 15 students, sopho-
mores to graduates, would have
answered such an ad. They
were participants in an experi-
mental course offered winter
term under the sponsership of
Professor James Chaffers of
Architecture and Design and
John Thompson, a researcher
in the School of Education.
Dave Stockson, an architec-
ture student participating in the
class, said the students, work-
ing in teams of two to five, se-
lected a daycare center to work
All centers were non - profit,
for low income families. All
lacked large playground equip-
The students' goal was to ob-
serve the children at play, then,
try to devise a piece of play
equipment which best suited the
preschoolers and enhanced the
ideal philosophies of the cen-
Marge Carter ,at the Corntree
Center, felt the students had
been quite successful in what
they came up with for the cen-
ter - a circle of stumps. "Our
focus here is on a real free ex-
ploring atmosphere. We like
having multipurpose equipment
to be used according to what
kids think of it," Carter said.
Creativity is the key word at
Corrtree. The staff there likes
to see kids "work out their own
activities and problems."
The consideration given to the

wide range of motor skills pres-
ent in children in the designing
an dspacing of the stumps also
pleased Carter. "There are
some groups of stumps for
those without much coordination
and others are widely spaced
for kids with more dexterity,"
she explained. "Kids are en-
couraged to use what is appro-
priate for them."
Jacqueline Hargraves of the
High Street Day Care Center
#agrees that the equipment de-
sign was successful. "It's built
on so many different levels.
Kids can really use their imag-
ination and stretch it," she said.
The complexity. of the equip-
ment built there "makes it more
interesting," Hargraves s a i d.
"They can get in and do any-
thing they want. Some hide in
there and you don't even
know they're in there. I don't
think anything could replace
Despite its numerous succes-
ses, the Project did have a few
disappointments. E I a i n e
Aubin of the Child Care Action
Center in the education school
relates, "Things got a little
messed up with this center. The
person who was supposed to
design for us had trouble get-
ting material."
The center had to settle for
a design created originally for
the Model Cities Day Care Cen-
Maria Tenorio, a member of
the Project Community staff,
explained why the centers did
not always get what was de-
signed for them. "One of the
main problems is the course
started without any money. The
student, in order to build, had

to work out the best
getting supplies." T
could ask the centet
or the community fa
materials, or pay
thing himself.
"The University
sponding," Tenorio
the student need to b
ential courses. Just
we've had proves
sity is not fulfili
mitment to studss
and desires."
Project Commoi'
sity student org:
deals with comelo:
and involvements
soring a bucket drie
in front of locI
funds collected sill
equipment still
built. Not all of the
ing centers hose y
their equipment.

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