Frederick Country Day Montessori and Arts School held a ribbon cutting ceremony for a new
natural playground June 26 in Frederick, Maryland.
Natural playgrounds are play environments that incorporate natural materials and plants to create a space where children can learn about nature and the environment as they play.
The area that now houses a lush, green expanse of grass filled with flowers, rocks and logs was previously an unused area covered in recycled tire mulch, according to parent Aimee Gibson. Gibson, who led the playground construction, saw it as an opportunity.
“I worked with one of the school directors, parents and community businesses to make this happen,” said Gibson. “We created a plan then started making calls, explaining what we needed, and it all started to fall into place.”
Gibson’s husband, U.S. Army Medical Materiel Agency Commander Col. David Gibson, along
with three other dads, began the first step of playground construction by installing a fence to define the area and rid the area of the tire mulch. From there, the school worked with a landscaper to design the playground. Once the design was agreed upon, Gibson contacted local businesses to donate supplies and held fundraisers to raise additional money. One year after starting the project, it is now complete and ready for the children to enjoy.
“Nature and exploration in the outdoors is an important part of Montessori education at Frederick Country Day,” said Director Catherine Nehring during the ceremony. “I want to thank all of those that have donated their time, expertise and materials to helping make this playground possible.”
After saying a few words and cutting the ribbon, a class of toddlers was encouraged to explore the new playground. The school has additional plans for the new area, such as letting the children grow flowers, vegetables and herbs.
The school is a U.S. Army General Services Administration childcare provider. The school welcomes Army families and currently has a number of military families as part of their school.
Individuals and businesses that sponsored the playground include: Maryland Agricultural Education Foundation, Clean Cut Landscapers, Carter Lumber, Irwin Stone, Kimberthy Turf Farms and Lowe’s Home Improvement.The school’s next planned project is turning another, larger playground into a natural playground.