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A Message From the Head of School: Bold Improvements

It has been a joy to watch the playground and the new Lower School STEAM space take shape over the last few months. The new playground, designed to encourage movement and sensory exploration has state-of-the-art equipment that includes spinners and climbers, a musical sensory garden, and a balance trail. The STEAM space, designed to inspire discovery and innovation,  includes 3-D printers, Lego walls for building, and ample space to store tools and consumables to be used for project-based learning. 

There is more than just geographic proximity that connects the playground and the STEAM space.  The renovation of these two spaces offer transformational learning spaces for our Early Childhood and Lower School students. The spirit of creativity and a recognition of the importance of play infuse both spaces. 

Evolutionary anthropologist Dorsa Amir reminds us that play is a foundational part of human development. Play affords children the opportunity to develop skills of collaboration and to understand the processes that define their world. The American Academy of Pediatrics has attested to the importance of play in helping children develop social-emotional skills and manage stress. To be sure, play and creativity are at the heart of the Reggio Emilia philosophy that undergirds our Little School and Early Childhood programs. Every day we see our youngest learners exploring nature and inventing new ways to play with each other.  As children get older, it is important that we continue to afford them time and space to continue this exploration. While older students might think that play is reserved for recess, physical education class, or after-school sports, it is present throughout the school day for all of our students. 

The new STEAM space in the Lower School, along with the updated STEAM classroom in the Middle School and the STEAM Hub that was added in 2018, are perfect spaces for students to learn through play.  According to Professor Brian Stone, “When children are provided the opportunity to play in STEAM realms, they often develop an internally motivated drive to explore, inquire, and investigate the world around them...play provides children an opportunity to make discoveries, develop an understanding of scientific processes, and even develop conceptual understandings.” As these conceptual understandings become more sophisticated throughout the divisions, students acquire the skills and learn to use the tools that will take them to the next level of critical thinking and problem-solving. These skills are essential for them to fully “embrace the opportunities and responsibilities of citizenship in a complex world.” 

I look forward to watching your children learn, grow, and play in the weeks and months to come.

Click here for a look into the opening day of the new playground.