March 26, 2019

New Playground Gives Young Learners the Chance to Explore

In the stages: the new “3, Pre-k, and K” outdoor space. Andrew Barren’22/Media
Columbus Academy is always creating new and inventive ways to educate kids outside of the classroom. Most recently, the school released its new playground for the “Three Year Old Program, Pre-Kindergarten, and Kindergarten” consisting of unique elements originating from across the world.
The committee for the playground, led by Mark Hanson, Brelle Farrenkopf, and Douglas Bennett wanted a place where kids can explore and create new ideas, which is now available provided by the new equipment.
Hanson, the Lower School Head, wanted to have a playground for our youngest learners that allows them to explore, change, work together and take advantage of the outdoors.
The idea for the playground came about when the kids started bringing sticks and rocks into their classrooms from the woods on their Friday Walks.

The new edition includes a cul de sac road, where kids can ride balance bikes, a water feature powered by the kids, a wooden boat with grass waves underneath it, wooden huts at the top of the hill, and a circle of logs for the kids to sit on. These incorporations make it easy for the kids to explore and have fun.

Hanson got inspired by the balance bikes that are gaining popularity in different parts of the world after living in Germany with his family. In New Zealand, the bikes are made of a material that can handle weather better, and that is where the balance bikes are from.

The water feature is a popular aspect in playgrounds in Germany, and it was often the most popular place in schools.

The playground will be accessible year round, with the acception of the water feature, which will have to be turned off in the winter to avoid the pipes freezing.  

The playground should be completed by mid-November, yet Hanson says, “The playground will never be done,” for kids will constantly be adding and changing the area and making the new playground a new place open for exploring.

Kids will visit the playground at different times of the day, with a door added to the outside of the Three Year Old classroom that opens into the area so the class can be outside anytime they want.