Hitchcock Design Group was sought out by Chicago Commons to transform their existing playground into a Nature-Based Play Environment that encourages learning through play and supports the Reggio Emilia approach for early learning. Hitchcock Design Group led the design team, including staff and administrators from Chicago Commons, through a master planning process to define the program and learning outcomes for the space. The Master Plan defined separate age-specific play areas for the 184 children whose ages range from 8 weeks to 7 years. Key elements in the area include an outdoor classroom with stump seating, raised wood stage, climbing boulder, embankment slides, outcropping stone, wood cookie steppers, and grassy knoll. “Loose parts” play is encouraged through the use of items such as wood blocks, sticks and seeds. A winding loop path serves as a tricycle track and encompasses a central lawn for running and for large gross motor activities. The space is also used after school and summer programs for school-age children.