An exciting addition is coming to the Lower School: a new playground! Studio Ludo, a well-respected landscape architecture firm with certified playground safety inspectors and vast experience designing play spaces, including those for school environments, has been engaged for this project. As Lower School Principal Karyn Payton notes, “One of the draws for hiring this firm was their practice of engaging teachers and students in the pre-design phase. Studio Ludo and their partners have worked with us to develop their understanding of our Lower School community and play culture, and of our hopes and dreams. They will use the information gathered to inform their proposed designs. Beyond the installation of new play equipment, we are looking for an outdoor play space that reflects our divisional commitment to whole-body health and learning. A space that facilitates and broadens our students’ opportunities for social, cognitive, sensory, and motor growth and development. A space that fosters individual choice, resilience, healthy risk-taking, deepening social interactions, and of course, play, play, play!”
The folks at Studio Ludo have come to campus several times and have engaged faculty and students in pre-design activities (pictured below; top collage courtesy of Studio Ludo) to help in their understanding of our school culture and to capture the essence of play at Westtown. In the workshop for faculty, teachers recalled their favorite play memories from childhood, then they broke into small groups to gather a sense of what play means in this community.
Students were asked to draw their ideal play space based on the prompt questions: What kind of adventures could you have here? If you build anything, what would it be? Then there was a design workshop in which each student built a 3D model of their ideal playground. You can enjoy their delightful ideas and imaginative creations here.
The goal is for the playground to be ready by the opening of school in September 2024. Stay tuned to eCollections and other publications for updates on this exciting project!