School for Pregnant and Parenting Teens -...
(click to enlarge)
Mother, child and water (click right side of image for next photo & left side for previous photo)
'Our Future' mural painted by students
Students painting mural with Brian Collier, resident artist at Harlem Hospital Horizon Art Studio.
Outdoor classroom/sandbox
Raised garden takes shape
City Volunteer Corps trainee
Slide and say,'Cheese'
First swinger

This special high school in Harlem for students who are expecting or have already given birth to infant children enables them to continue their education, informs them on raising families and provides them with on-site childcare.

The problem here was not to enhance an elementary school curriculum, as in the other Project Oasis sites, but to literally create an oasis in which the women could learn to interact with their kids in a safe, peaceful environment.

Planting a garden in the bleak, concrete backyard of a former elementary school, which was built at the turn of the century atop the rubble of demolished houses, required breaking up the pavement to create a raised flowerbed. Heavy machines were provided by the Board of Education and three feet of topsoil was donated by the Parks Department.

Teens from the City Volunteer Corps supplied the construction labor and the students painted murals under the tutelage of artist Bryan Collier of Harlem Horizons Studio. The garden was planted by the women under the skillful supervision of Bernadette Cozart of the Greening of Harlem program of the N.Y.C. Parks Department, carefully selecting non-toxic, thornless plants that infants could smell, taste and touch.

A sandbox was plunked in the middle of an outdoor classroom so that girls could be with their kids to observe them during group discussions about child rearing. Hidden beneath the sand lay soft balls and rubber animals embedded in the rubber floor surface for the kids to find on their own.

Standard play features, like a swing, slide and wading pool, were spread throughout the garden. The glass block wading pool was fed by a simple garden hose with no fancy moving parts to maintain and drained into a trough where kids could stand and play with water toys.

One of my favorite projects, for obvious reasons.