After years of planning and nearly five months of construction, the new Lower School playground has gone from concept to reality! To celebrate the opening of this beautiful new space, Lower School families were invited to a new Lower School Playground Dedication & Celebration on Tuesday, Sept. 5.
Recognizing the immense impact it will have on EA's youngest learners in PreK to 5th grade, this big vision was funded by four families who offered generous gifts to the Shape Tomorrow campaign, designated for the playground project.
Built along the side of the Lower School building and up the hill that leads to the Clark Campus Green, it includes traditional playground activities like slides, swings, zip lines, and a gaga ball pit, in addition to rope bridges, a water feature, sand play areas, rock climbing, wooden dodecahedron structures, and more.
"We have this beautiful campus and a ton of space outside of the Lower School, so we were able to dream big and leverage the incredible natural landscape available to us," shared Head of Lower School Dr. Terry Malone. "One of our big goals was to design the playground in a way that naturally extends our classrooms outdoors and empowers continual learning and exploration."
Though construction began in March 2023 and concluded in August 2023, the project has been in the works for more than two years. The Playground Committee, composed of parents, administrators, teachers, and students, worked hard throughout the 2021-22 school year to partner with an architectural firm, assess campus space, conduct research on other playgrounds, and interview parents and teachers. Students from the Class of 2029 played an especially important role in gathering feedback and ideas from their younger peers through hosting focus groups within each classroom.
"Play represents creativity, exploration, experimentation, and socialization," explained Dr. Malone. "It is critical and essential to a child's overall development. Our early education program is a play-based program, which helps children make sense of their world at early ages through play. Our new playground will assist our teachers in continuing to offer incredible learning experiences for our students."
Hear more about the playground plan in a May 2022 episode of EA's podcast "EA Unlocked," hosted by Greville Haslam Head of School Dr. T.J. Locke, Hon.