Published : Wednesday, August 30, 2017 | 7:19 PM
The first day back to school wasn’t such a drag for Mayfield Junior School students who celebrated the campus’ newly installed playground which faculty says is a mainstay feature for student success.
The state-of-the-art playground is a complete overhaul and expansion of the school’s previous outdoor activity area that served scores of students over the course of 25 years and was due for some much needed upgrades.
Parents, faculty, and students alike all contributed to the design and planning effort that was inspired to meet the needs and wants of students who are encouraged to not only study hard, but play hard, too.
“We really value play. If you don’t have a good facility to help children thrive and play with each other and interact, then you’re not sending the message that you value play,” said Laura Kennedy, lower school director at Mayfield Junior School.
“Just like we look our curriculum every year and our facilities, you have to look at your play spaces, too, and say, ‘can we make it better?’,” said Kennedy. “That’s what we did here at Mayfield.”
Mayfield conducted nearly a year of research to select the best design, layout and equipment choices.
“It’s a result of months of research and hard work looking at playgrounds across the southland,” said Kennedy.
According to Kennedy, a team of Mayfield Junior School teachers and parents led the planning effort and even let the students provide input.
“We brought the different designs to the kids,” Kennedy explained. “This is the winner that you see right now,” added Kennedy.
The new playground replaces the previous one, which served the campus well for over 25 years.
“While it was certainly still functional, it was starting to show a little bit of wear and tear and we didn’t have the most up-to-date elements that we’ve included in this new playground,” explained Kennedy.
The newly expanded playground features a spacious 4,600 square foot lot and artificial grass.
“It provides that natural, bouncy, soft element and the kids just react differently as soon as they walk on the playground than they did before when we had all of the wood chips which were dirty and not as healthy and hygienic,” explained Kennedy.
Covered by a vaulted awning and nestled in bouncy, supportive turf, the modern playground features discovery caves, lookout decks, winding tunnels, stepping pods, contoured boulders, a cable sway link, and rope ladders.
According to Kennedy, the overall design and playground features will hopefully encourage dramatic play, core strengthening, and agility amongst the students.
“Play is so important. This is such a well-researched subject and that it helps kids develop positively in their cooperative skills, creative skill, and their social-emotional [skills],” said Kennedy.
Mayfield Junior School, 405 South Euclid Avenue, Pasadena, (626) 796-2774 or visit www.mayfieldjs.org.