The Bing Nursery School Beautification Project
By Nancy Howe, Head Teacher
Bing Nursery School was originally founded in 1949 as the Stanford Village Nursery School. In 1966 a grant from the National Science Foundation to the Stanford Psychology Department, along with a matching gift from Peter Bing and his mother, Anna Bing Arnold, made it possible for Bing to move to its present location on the Stanford campus. Dr. Edith M. Dowley, the founding director, worked with architects and landscapers to help create the school’s unique indoor and outdoor environment. In the years since, despite diligent upkeep and caretaking, Bing had begun to look frayed at the edges. Coinciding with Bing’s thirty-fifth anniversary, Helen and Peter Bing embarked on the generous Bing Beautification Project to return the school to its original luster.
The project was kicked off during the summer of 2001. Katsy Swan, the talented garden designer responsible for the gardens at Stanford Hospital, selected and supervised the reforesting of trees and the planting of flowers and flowering vines in every playyard. Then last November a beautifully landscaped brick patio adjoining the kitchen was completed with tables, chairs, a glider, and a tea cart. The space has been well used by staff throughout the spring for lunches, as a reception area for visitors, and as a site for teachers to meet with each other at weekly team meetings, with Stanford students to discuss their journals and classroom participation, and with parents for conferences. In late May teachers and staff held a tea party for Helen Bing in appreciation for her efforts to create a beautiful environment for teachers and children.
Hundreds of Dutch iris and tulip bulbs had been planted in the atrium at the end of the fall quarter, and staff and children alike awaited their colorful show. Finally, during the first warm days of May bulbs and bushes were blooming magnificently in pink and white. What a surprise to discover that a mother hummingbird had built her nest on the lowest branch of the atrium pear tree for all the children to see.
Perhaps you noticed a large delivery truck in the parking lot this spring. It was from Community Playthings in Rifton, New York, the premier maker of wooden children’s furniture and play equipment. Every classroom is being totally refurbished with a complete set of dramatic play and house corner furniture, wooden carts, tables, chairs, bookshelves, and hollow blocks. In addition to these improvements, the Two’s classroom has been updated with new carpet, a marmoleum floor, and fresh paint.
Michelle Olmstead, Bing parent and interior architect, donated her services and, with Helen Bing and Director Jeanne Lepper, planned the update of the Two’s classroom. The remodel continues with the seminar room, dining area, adult bathrooms, and school kitchen. The seminar room will have water colors painted by Pamela Glasscock. Original work from well-known children’s book artist Olivier Dunrea will grace the walls in the dining area. We are truly fortunate to have such generous benefactors, talented designers, and skilled craftsmen. A heartfelt thank you goes out to Helen and Peter Bing and to everyone who has helped make this project a wonderful success.