Seasons of Play

Seasons of Play: Natural Environments of Wonder by Rusty Keeler

Seasons of Play: Natural Environments of Wonder was written by Rusty Keeler and published by Gryphon House, Inc. in 2016. The book contains over 200 photographs of the natural outdoor environments of three home-based preschools. The author suggested an alternate title for the book could have been A Year in the Life of the Natural Playscape. Part 1 of the book explores how the preschools’ backyards are utilized throughout the four seasons of the year by the children. Part 2 offers construction projects and resources for natural playscapes.

Each of the playscapes was very different from the other two: one was a garden playscape oasis in the city with apple trees, a sand pit, a vegetable garden, grassy areas, and a hill; one was a wild jumble of plants, logs, sand and dirt; and one was a minifarm with chickens, sheep, and cats on a yard with loose parts and hand-built play pieces.

The Seed Center preschool was built and is operated by Jacquelyn Beuchel and her husband Aaron. The backyard of this home on a small lot in the city was flat, open, and totally exposed to the adjacent parking lot and buildings. They quickly installed an attractive wooden fence for privacy and began landscaping the yard with gardens, paths, shrubs, a sand pit, a hill with a hill slide, a paved area for riding tricycles, a tepee, and an area for messy play.

The apple trees in the play area provid