Design4Kids is the organization from which Gerry Slater serves children’s programs with intentional planning of physical environments.
Gerry previously served from Playworks, Inc for approximately 35 years. He started the company to help programs develop affordable classroom furnishings and outdoor playthings and spaces. Playworks grew t include product design, manufacturing, construction, play equipment installation and many community built playground projects along with design services. A few years after experiencing a serious flood, Playworks was closed down.
A major focus of Design4Kids is thoughtful planning of outdoor play and learning spaces with teachers and emphasizing nature-rich experiences for young children.
About Gerry Slater
Gerry Slater takes play very seriously. In fact, he’s spent the last 37 years working for play and playing at work.
Gerry was the founder and primary owner of the former Playworks, Inc., a Milwaukee area company that gained national recognition for building innovative, high quality play environments for children. During his 32 years at Playworks, 3 years at Playworks4Kids and 2 years at Green Tree Environments, he designed and built hundreds of unique outdoor and indoor play environments. Today, as Design4Kids, he continues to develop exciting, efficient, safe and affordable designs for children’s environments, with an emphasis on integrating natural features and connecting children with nature.
Over the years, Gerry has honed a thorough understanding of child development and educational theories always finding new ways to translate educational goals to physical environment. He is a strong believer in the need for children to have unstructured time in spaces rich with natural elements, and he has studied the impact of environments on behavior.
He has extensive experience teaching environment planning to educators and agencies including a workshop on planning outdoor play at the Child Care Design Institute at Tufts and Harvard University.
In 1980, Gerry helped found Resources for Children, a non-profit community service center that worked to improve children’s environments using recyclable materials. Through this organization, he developed workshops to help parents and therapists design and build adaptive equipment and furniture for children with special needs.
Gerry has an undergraduate degree in industrial design and a master’s degree in environment design.