Submitted by Susan Abramson, Zara Mack, Jared Mosseri
As you visit the campus, you may have noticed caution tape around a section of purple playground. This taped-off section used to be a recess structure, and when Ms. Lewis learned it needed to be replaced, she knew children’s voices should be included in designing a new playground. As always, we went through a careful and deliberate process to make sure their voices were heard.
First, Ms. Lewis and whole fourth grade visited the empty space. We then watched a video produced by Kompan, the company we work with for our playgrounds. After meeting with the whole fourth grade, we asked for volunteers to serve on a committee to help imagine and design. Knowing this would be a big job with a lot of responsibility, fourth-grade students Zara, Jared, Gabe, Marcus, Drew and Hannah all volunteered. The committee was ready to go! They carefully studied the Kompan catalog, picked out pieces they liked, and shared ideas with Ms. Lewis. They presented ideas to classmates and heard their feedback. The committee met several times with Mr. Valdez, a representative from Kompan, who provided important information such as the ages each piece was suitable for, and how much space each piece needed around it in order to be safe. Throughout the process the committee checked in with Mr. Burns and Mr. Massei, members of the D-E Facilities Team, and heard the types of things their team thinks about when installing and maintaining playgrounds. Finally, with support from Ms. Lewis, a proposal was submitted to Dr. DeJarnett. Although the proposal went slightly over budget, Dr. DeJarnett was kind enough to support our new playground. We were so happy, and we thanked him with a handwritten card.
This week the committee visited each grade level and shared their process and a beautiful poster showing most of the pieces (one piece is not shown on the poster). The members of the recess committee are so thankful Ms. Lewis invited them to serve on the committee. They learned a lot, had fun, and we all can’t wait to see the new space in September!