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April 2018 - Play Garden Update

In April 2018, ACPS signed a partnership agreement with the Mount Vernon Community School PTA to upgrade the play garden at the school. The PTA has been raising funds for a number of years for this project and has donated $145,732 towards the total $732,823 cost. The project is scheduled to be completed December 2018.

Faculty and PTA Presentation - March 2018 (PDF)

The design for the upgraded play garden includes:

Nature Play: multi-sensory stimulation, enabling kids to play together and independently with a wider variety of stimuli. 

Motor Development: The nest swing can be used alone and in groups, offering sensory integration and therapeutic vestibular (balance) stimulation. Loose parts play offers kids the rare opportunity to manipulate their outdoor environment. Music play is another individual and group opportunity to create sound in space. The expanded soccer field is distinct, and shows goal and center lines. 

Outdoor Learning: Theater, reading, art, science, history, and math are some of the outdoor curriculum opportunities provided in the new space. The solar system outdoor classroom, history timeline, book nook, and other elements incorporate multi-lingual, multi-cultural education into the play garden. 

Teacher Resources: Improved seating, a drinking fountain, lockable storage for dedicated art, science, theater, garden play and improved visibility while supervising kids will all make teachers’ outside time more effective and enjoyable.

Accessibility: The new plan removes all existing barriers within and around the play garden, making it compliant with the 2010 ADA. Narrow passages and unnecessary steps on the adjacent streets will be removed. Fences and gates will be reconfigured easing circulation and increasing safety for all users. New play elements will be accessible to all.

Neighborhood Connectivity: Streetscape improvements including benches, bike racks, paving, and signage create a more attractive neighborhood center, celebrating a major urban intersection and civic core.

Environmental Enhancements: Permeable paving, rain garden, butterfly garden, and native plants will improve storm water quality, reduce runoff into storm drains, improve soils, tree health, attract songbirds and other beneficial pollinators, and reduce urban heat island effect, all of which will measurably improve the Chesapeake Bay watershed and qualify the project for grant funding.