Playground Paradise | Kids VT | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

Seven Days needs your financial support!

Kids climb the treehouse ramp at Thatcher Brook Primary School

Jeb Wallace-Brodeur

Kids climb the treehouse ramp at Thatcher Brook Primary School

Playground Paradise 

Published August 1, 2013 at 4:00 a.m.

School's out, but kids are still coming to Waterbury's Thatcher Brook Primary School — for the playground. This sprawling hillside funscape is home to tetherball and teeter-totters, swing sets and slides. But what really sets it apart are the natural play structures, including a rock-garden labyrinth, a massive sandbox and a rock-climbing wall.

"The goal was to connect kids to nature through imaginative play," says co-principal Stephanie Hudak of the unusual design. Conceptualized in 2005 and finally realized in 2008 after much community fundraising and support, the playground minimizes plastic and metal structures by making use of logs, rocks and the natural lay of the land.

Best of all, the playground is open to the community during all non-recess hours. Hudak says she has seen children climbing, sliding and swinging on the grounds all summer long.

Stormwater flows through natural pipes to a pool
  • Jeb Wallace-Brodeur
  • Stormwater flows through natural pipes to a pool
  • A tall log treehouse is handicap accessible. Kids follow a winding gravel path up the hill to enter from the back via a smooth wooden ramp.
  • Kids can watch stormwater runoff flow through a series of halved, hollowed-out log "pipes" and into a small pool.
  • The rock-climbing wall, set against the hill at a gentle angle, lets kids safely ascend.
  • Built into the curve of the hill, an amphitheater with stone seats and a brick stage is big enough to hold classes and performances.
  • A designated preschool area features a smaller jungle gym and swing set, as well as a big sandbox for digging.
Conquering the rock wall
  • Jeb Wallace-Brodeur
  • Conquering the rock wall
If you go: Thatcher Brook Primary School is located on High Street in Waterbury. For more information, call 244-7195 or visit

This article was originally published in Seven Days' monthly parenting magazine, Kids VT.

Got something to say? Send a letter to the editor and we'll publish your feedback in print!

About The Author

Carolyn Fox

Carolyn Fox

Carolyn Fox was the Seven Days calendar editor from 2009-2012. From 2012-2013, she was the managing editor of Kids VT. She currently works as Special Publications Manager for Seven Days.


Showing 1-1 of 1


Comments are closed.

Since 2014, Seven Days has allowed readers to comment on all stories posted on our website. While we’ve appreciated the suggestions and insights, the time has come to shut them down — at least temporarily.

While we champion free speech, facts are a matter of life and death during the coronavirus pandemic, and right now Seven Days is prioritizing the production of responsible journalism over moderating online debates between readers.

To criticize, correct or praise our reporting, please send us a letter to the editor. Or send us a tip. We’ll check it out and report the results.

Online comments may return when we have better tech tools for managing them. Thanks for reading.

Keep up with us Seven Days a week!

Sign up for our fun and informative

All content © 2022 Da Capo Publishing, Inc. 255 So. Champlain St. Ste. 5, Burlington, VT 05401

Advertising Policy  |  Privacy Policy  |  Contact Us  |  About Us  |  Help
Website powered by Foundation