Let’s build a space that is fun and educational, provides opportunities for outdoor learning, and will be used as a multigenerational play space!
The schoolyard at Newbury Elementary School (NES) currently consists of hardtop, grass, mud, and a basic playground structure; it is bare and un-inspirational. Installed in 1997, the structure is showing its age. The metal frame is deteriorating, connections cracking and bolts rusting. In 2014, the NES GROWS used a one-time donation from an NES family to make several repairs to the structure to address urgent safety issues, but additional repairs are not far off. Furthermore, the existing structure is not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Beyond this playground, the Town of Newbury has only one other playground, a smaller structure at the Newbury Town Library in Byfield geared primarily to toddlers. There are no other spaces in Newbury that naturally draw families and community members together on a daily basis. The Upper and Lower Green’s are beautiful and serene, but are not well utilized as exercise or play spaces other than for organized sports and special community events. Many Newbury residents go to neighboring Newburyport for exercise and play, thereby missing a chance to make new connections with other Newbury residents.
Our vision is the creation of a multi-generational ADA compliant schoolyard that will bring local families together in new and creative ways. Our hope is that town residents, as well as nearby community members, will gather here to utilize the many wonderful features of this improved space. Funding dependent, NES GROWS plans to build in October 2016.
NES SCHOOLYARD REBUILD PROJECT GOALS
- Create learning opportunities throughout the schoolyard for teachers to bring to students outside. Compliment the work being done in the classroom and connect features to the Common Core Curriculum;
- Provide opportunities for more creative play, is fun for all students, and is accessible by all (ADA compliant);
- Provide shade;
- Increase in health and wellness by providing free access to fitness equipment;
- Increase in outdoor time and a better appreciation for nature;
- Increase in overall wellbeing;
- Providing a safe and accessible space;
- Increase in community connectedness and pride.
This space will be a great community resource and open to all when school is not in session!
“60 Minutes of daily unstructured outdoor free play is essential to children’s physical and mental health.” -American Academy of Pediatrics