I am excited to announce that our new playground structures are open for business! As I am sure you know, construction projects sometimes take longer than expected, but we are now able to enjoy this newest addition to Lilja.
Recess at Lilja is an interesting and positive time for children, and Lilja teachers are as thoughtful about how to ensure success in this arena as in any other. We are blessed to have a wide variety of options for play at Lilja. We have the upper field, which children often use for games. We have the lower field, where children can swing, hang out, and also play a variety of games. We have the outdoor garden space where exploration
of growing things is happening. Children use these areas and the peripheries for a variety of imaginative options, from creating things out of natural materials to inventing new and interesting games.
On a typical day, as I have observed, children are scattered among all of the options, and are having a ball!
We are now able to add to this variety pack our new set of structures. We have spent this week introducing the structures to children at each grade level. As we do for every new set of routines or experiences, teachers shared our expectations with each grade. As you would expect of us, we want to ensure that every experience at Lilja is safe, both physically and emotionally, and so a gradual release model is our standard practice.
(This is most noticeable at the Kindergarten level. As you have probably seen in K classrooms, at this time of year many areas and activities are opening gradually -- from blocks to paints to books. Materials and expectations are carefully explained and then routines practiced, so that children will be successful in navigating the activities individually and collectively. We are approaching the playground structures in the same way. Each K class gets its own day on the smallest structure right now, to explore safely and comfortably. The teachers will then gradually allow for more choice, and ultimately will incorporate more of the structure area. This year for the first time we are able to have all five K classes out at recess at once, which is wonderful for creating even more friendships. As thoughtfully as they do everything else, our fantastic K team is introducing their students to the terrific array of recess choices offered at Lilja!)
Students have been busily exploring our new structures; right now they are of great interest, and so a bit crowded, but given the amazing diversity of options for recess play there is plenty of fun to be had, and already many children are gravitating back to other areas as well.
We will now turn our attention to the addition of a few more elements. The PTO raised money last spring, and now that the structure is complete, we will be making plans to add a bit more fun to our mix. Thank you to everyone who donated by buying a brick or bricks! I’ll keep you posted as our plans for additional elements and for the laying of the bricks gets finalized.