As St. Margaret’s Lower School students arrived on campus for the first day of school this week, many couldn’t help but stop at the new Lower School Outdoor Classroom for a closer look.
“Wow!” one student said. “This is magical!”
The Lower School Outdoor Classroom was one of many facility upgrades that were completed over the summer for the 2018-2019 school year, as spaces are reimagined to further enhance the student learning experience.
All kindergarten classrooms relocated from the Preschool to the Lower School campus, causing a shuffling of classroom spaces that included grade 5 moving to the south side of the Sillers Hall wing into redesigned classrooms. In addition, a Lower School Outdoor classroom was created to expand outdoor curriculum, hands-on learning, STEAM and exploration for kindergarten and grade 1.
The Lower School Outdoor Classroom has numerous features, including play areas, a garden, a sand pit, water tables, art stations, reading areas under mature shade trees and playground equipment.
“Learning occurs everywhere and all of the time,” Lower School Principal Jennifer Blount said. “The Outdoor Classroom will give students a hands-on outdoor play area along with more defined fine and gross motor areas. We are so excited to see all of the ways our students will learn and connect to nature in this beautiful new space.”
Lower School STEAM Center
The Lower School technology and science spaces, including the Lower School Science Lab, ICE Lab and CUBE maker spaces, were reimagined and renovated. The new space is a custom-designed learning environment with new furnishings, fixtures and lab equipment, and connected to allow for open flow between the spaces during science and technology classes as well as Lower School STEAM blocks in grades 4 and 5. The upgrades were funded through generous donations as part of the 2018 Fund A Need at Forever Plaid: La Belle Époque.
St. Margaret’s also completed phase two of an Upper School project that involved the remodeling of all science classrooms with modern furnishings and state-of-the-art lab equipment, and the addition of a new science lab dedicated and designed for physics and engineering studies. The additions were driven by student demand.
In addition, new interactive technologies and new furnishings were installed in all classrooms, and a new dedicated quiet study room for students was completed.
The Pasternack Field House gym floor was refinished and redesigned with new colors and updated Tartan Athletics graphics. In addition, St. Margaret’s installed new LED lights at Tartan Field to brighten the playing field. The lights got their first action last week, when St. Margaret’s football team opened the season with a win over Aquinas.
The Lower School field was also upgraded, with new natural turf.