Essential Elements of PLAY
“It is the child in man that is the source of his uniqueness and creativeness, and the playground is the optimal milieu for the unfolding of his capacities and talents”Eric Hoffer, Philosopher
True, the playground is the “optimal milieu” for the many developmental and mission skills that help our youngest acorns grow into big, strong pin oak trees. And it is with deep gratitude that we present the new and improved preschool playground, another completed, impactful round of the ONE School Project where all the essential elements of play are 100% underway.
“It exceeded my expectations,” says Donna Hutton, Preschool Director. “When I saw it completed, it honestly took my breath away.”
Another touch of the ONE School project, there were many “players” involved in its planning and installation. The Playground Committee (players) included school administrators, preschool faculty, playground architect Ramona Fry, and Donna and Bill Shively, generous donors. “The teachers were thoughtful in listing what they felt was really important, what they wished to keep and wished to remove. Ramona Fry brought a depth of expertise from a career designing playgrounds like the ones at Jacobson and Shilito Parks here in Lexington, and the Shively’s were so supportive of the entire process. It all just worked,” says Ms. Hutton.
Knowledge gained from working with occupational therapists over the years and current research about what children need to for physical, social, and emotional development led to thoughtful decisions.
The committee started with the 5 Essential Elements of Play for promoting physical fitness and gross motor strength.
BRACHIATING (move by using the arms to swing from branch to branch)
Extra space allows for extra imagination, so the committee kept going:
CYCLING- with a tricycle track that weaves around and through the playground, little legs are as active as their smiles.
THE STAGE-children used to perform on the edge of the sandbox and now they are stars on their very own amphitheater stage (or outdoor classroom). Sherry Cline, preschool teacher, is ready to celebrate: “Every Friday, our class is going to have a dance party out on the stage!”
FREE PLAY – Ms. Hutton: “It was important that the structured play equipment did not encompass the entire space. We wanted children to be able to run freely and find imaginative nooks.”
Team Sports (Coming soon)
Basketball court with a funnel where the ball comes out to one of three places.
Hopscotch board where mission skills lead to the preschool mantra of “BE KIND” with a big heart.
Sensory Path that includes zigzag, bunny hop, jumping on certain shapes, all fun, visual activities to develop the sensory skills specific to the preschool age and stage.
PRESCHOOL ONE SCHOOL PROJECT BY THE NUMBERS
400: Cubic yards of mulch
30,000: Pounds of sand
Friendships– Like so many parts of the ONE School project, the preschool playground is impactful and lasting. Donna Shively: “So many first-time memories at The Lexington School are made on the preschool playground, including meeting friends that they connect with for years to come! Bill and I are hopeful the TLS children and faculty will make many great memories on the new playground!”
The preschool playground has all the essential elements of play for developing young children at The Lexington School. Huge thanks to all “the players” who made it happen.