In addition to the generous funding received from Valley School families to enhance our playground, we also received approval from the City of Seattle to install large water-collecting cisterns. These allow us to capture rain water run off for water play and qualified us as a Rain Wise Community (see banners on the perimeter fence). In order to provide more space for large-group games, more exercise, and teamwork and sportsmanship practice, students in grades 3-5 now have daily access to both playgrounds while our younger students are eating lunch. Students in every classroom are enjoying our special outdoor spaces in new ways.
The new playground additions have added joy and many new experiences to our “second classroom.” The new house on stilts is a huge hit, and kids are having fun playing cooperative games inside as well as testing their strength going up and down the fire pole, ladder, and climbing wall. The brown boat has given new life to imaginary play and the creation of adventure stories, even when it isn’t submerged in water! Huge rubber tires allow children to hide, climb, and create obstacle courses like never before. And, of course, the water basin and pump have provided hours of fun as our budding engineers direct and use water in new ways. Watching Valley School students explore our improved “second classroom” has been inspiring for all!
Here are some improvements that are still to come:
- A circular track to be installed on the lower school playground
- Water wall
- The upper school playground water pump
Be sure to ask your students some questions about their playground experience these days! Perhaps start with the following:
- Where does the water come from in the cisterns? How does the water fill the water pump from the cisterns? Does the water ever run out? What do you do with the water?
- What is your favorite way to climb into the house on stilts? Is it hard to climb up on the huge rubber tires? When you’re playing the boat, do you need a driver? Does the boat ever sink?
- What is your favorite playground game right now? What is something new you want to try?
Have fun and be imaginative! Go Valley!