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Cutter School Playground Review

Question of the afternoon: 'How do you use that seesaw thing?'

The former Cutter School may have been turned into condos, but the playground remains, and in good shape, I might add.

This little hideaway on School Street has a good-sized play structure, swings, and a very interesting contraption comprised of large tires planted sideways in the ground and a curved, seesawing lever, reminiscent of a railroad hand car or pump trolley. Max and one of his friends found it both intriguing and confusing. Unable to climb up by themselves, holding the bar, they asked for help and ended up standing on the bar. As the actual use of this device was unclear, perhaps the toddlers had the right idea. It's hard to say.

Max and his two toddler friends spend some time on the swings, the friends on the two baby swings and Max and I attempting to swing together, him on my lap, on a regular, big-kid swing. It wasn't easy, and once I convinced him I couldn't both hold him on my lap and "swing high, Mommy!" he lost interest.

We began chasing each other in the small grassy area between the playground and Robbins Road. There are a few benches and picnic tables in the grassy area, nice for a picnic, and a little path that winds around the grassy area and up a tempting flight of stairs behind a large bush. Tempting to small boys, at least. Max and I gave up our game of chase and looked into some of the puddles on the path.

We tried to get the boys to play on the play structure, but it was hot and sunny and not at all shady, and they weren't interested. They kept wandering up to the highest platform, the "death trap" as fellow mom, Laura Brereton, called it. The platform led to a winding slide, but it also had two open areas: straight drops, for anyone too small or uncoordinated to use the arch of hand-rungs or down climb the steep climbing wall.

I suggested slide races, as there is a side-by-side slide of decent length. Max insisted not on racing me but on sitting on my lap so the three of us (Max, me, and the baby in a sling; this is probably not a pediatrician-recommended way to go down a slide) could race one of his toddler friends.

Eventually we all gathered on a shady bench for a snack. Max and his friends found the chain-link fence between the playground and the parking lot enormously interesting. In fact, they spent the rest of their playground time playing with the fence and with our stroller, which they considered an inviting climbing toy.

The best thing about Cutter School Playground, according to Brereton, was the shade in part of it. However, Brereton continued, the "play structure is better for older kids," she said, especially the "death trap." Local mom Anne Pareti agreed. "This thing is cool," Pareti said, indicating the tire seesaw-thing. "But the worst thing [about this playground]? He doesn't seem that interested in it," she added, referring to her son.

It was true. Perhaps it was the sheer force of their camaraderie, whereby three toddler boys don't need a playground at all as long as they have each other, some puddles, a fence, a stick or two, and a nifty stroller to climb on. Or maybe the Cutter School Playground is a playground that is more attractive to slightly older children. It is a decent all-around playground, in any case.

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