POD Wake County
A Safe Place Child Enrichment Center, Inc.
A Safe Place was formally a family residence located on a large lot in an inner suburb of SE Raleigh, NC. Early on, generous, welcoming decks were added to the building entrance.
The POD Wake Co. three-year process (moved fence lines to nearly double the previously cramped play and learning area. A new double-loop concrete pathway now winds through the space, connecting a learning garden, mud play area, picnic space, an outdoor classroom, a pollinator garden, and many other activity settings. Tire planters and beds filled with perennial, flowering plants, and decorative grasses line the pathway, all within children’s reach. An arbor with flowering vines captures rainwater for irrigation, is a green tunnel for trike riders, and offers shady seating along the pathway.
A large production garden, beyond the licensed area, includes rows of annual vegetables, fruit trees and 160 square feet of fruiting shrubs. Here and in the learning garden, children learn by doing—planting, tending to, and harvesting fruit and vegetables used as snacks and ingredients for center meals (eaten outdoors in summer). Veggies are also sent home with recipe suggestions for families living in the surrounding ‘food desert’. A chicken coop and run were added in 2019. The production garden is managed by a part-time gardener.
A Safe Place invested $16,550 on outdoor improvements during the 3-year POD Wake County process. A Safe Place received a City of Raleigh 2015 Urban Agriculture Award.
A Safe Place is featured in a 2019 NLI/NC Cooperative Extension A/V production: The Virtual Field Trip.
We put extra produce out for families to take. The schoolagers talk about the garden with their parents, about eating healthy foods, what foods to buy and how to prepare them.
Gardening is part of the culture now!
Live Broadcast to NatStart2021
Broadcasting from NLI Demonstration Site, A Safe Place, Raleigh, July 27, as part of the fabulous international field trip series, owner Kim Shaw and teachers conducted a field visit and Q&A discussion with Natural Start 2021 conference participants. Access full NatStart2021 content on their website. The broadcast continued around A Safe Place’s outdoor play and learning environment, led by teachers and other staff members, as in the photos below.