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Introducing the CDS Treehouse!

Friday, July 7, 2017

If you’ve recently been near the preschool bungalows on our 333 Dolores campus, you’ve almost certainly noticed an amazing addition to our yard. The formerly bare tree in the Bower is now the site of an elaborately designed multi-level treehouse!

The story behind CDS’ newest building started several months ago, when our Preschool Starfish were in the middle of a lesson about buildings and construction. Looking at a potted plant inside the classroom, one student said that they should build a treehouse inside it. The rest of his classmates started talking about treehouses, imagining what designs they’d use if they had the chance to build one. As the kids got more and more caught up in their ideas, the Starfish teachers began to wonder: what if they could build a real, full-sized treehouse on the CDS campus?

We unanimously agreed that this was a great idea, especially since we have an expert in the CDS family: Chris, the husband of our ECP director Antonette, is an architect who specializes in school and playground designs. We assembled an all- star team of creators, with the Starfish students to provide ideas, Chris to turn them into blueprints, and our wonderful Facilities team of John, Cristobal, and Milton to handle the construction.

The Starfish got to meet Chris in February, when he visited their classroom to talk about what an architect does and learn what they wanted the treehouse to look like. They offered a huge number of great suggestions, including a slide, a cargo net, a staircase, and much more. However, their contributions went beyond the realm of ideas. After Chris drew up the plans and the building process started, the Starfish did their best to lend a hand with the construction work, helping out with tasks such as leveling the ground around the tree to make sure that the house would be built on a stable surface. When their parents visited the campus to take a look at the nearly-completed treehouse, the students sang “The Treehouse Song,” which they’d composed (together with Starfish Teacher Greg Gardner) in order to express their excitement about the project.

We had the official ribbon-cutting ceremony during the last week of school, and our students are already thrilled by the results of their handiwork. We invite everyone to take a look at the treehouse the next time they visit the 333 campus, and we’d like to extend our heartfelt thanks to Chris, John, Cristobal, and Milton for generously dedicating their time to bring the Starfish’s dreams into reality! The Early Childhood Program at CDS practices the project approach to education, and the treehouse is a wonderful example of a project that engaged the students and extended their thinking.