Elevating education: Celebrating assistant principals and enriching playgrounds

Elm Grove Elementary School, Texas

Celebrating the pillars of our educational community, particularly assistant principals, is more than a gesture—it’s a commitment to acknowledging the foundational role they play in our schools. We’re proud of our 15-year partnership with the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) through which we partner with these educational professionals to promote healthy children, successful futures and encourage a place where children of all abilities can play, learn and grow together. We’re also excited to continue our sponsorship of its National Outstanding Assistant Principals® (NOAP) Program. This initiative shines a light on the extraordinary efforts of assistant principals across the nation, recognizing their dedication and the positive impacts they have within their school communities. See the Class of 2024 National Outstanding Assistant Principals.

Celebrating the 2024 National Outstanding Assistant Principals

Our commitment to enhancing the educational environment extends beyond accolades. Understanding the critical importance of play in child development, we also focus on the role of school playgrounds. These spaces are not just areas for recess, they are vital for encouraging physical activity, fostering social skills and enhancing cognitive development. Research underscores the significance of outdoor physical activity, not only for children’s health but also for their academic and social progress. Creating age-appropriate and developmentally suitable playgrounds is pivotal in ensuring that children receive the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity daily, as suggested by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

To support this vision, we work with schools to bring these playground projects to fruition so children can thrive both inside and outside the classroom. For more detailed insights on planning and implementing school playgrounds, go here. Then contact your local Landscape Structures playground consultant to get started on designs for your upcoming playground projects today.

Delivering natural play at the EPCOT® International Flower & Garden Festival

2018 EPCOT® International Flower & Garden Festival

We are excited to have our playground equipment featured at the 25th Annual EPCOT® International Flower & Garden Festival. The upcoming holiday weekend is the final one of the Festival. So if you’re near or planning a visit to Lake Buena Vista, Fla., be sure to go play at EPCOT.

New to the Festival this year is the Imagination Garden, which integrates play into the natural environment. Nestled among the flowers, trees and other landscaping elements is a maze of play. Kids of all ages can navigate the playground tunnels to discover fossil digs and Rhapsody® Outdoor Musical Instruments. Upon finding their way out of the maze, kids ages 2 to 5 find more playground fun with the hillscape climber, pod steppers and leaf panels while kids ages 5 to 12 can traverse their way up and around the Lunar Burst® Net Climber. The play space design truly plays off the aesthetics of the surrounding landscape design.

Get more information about the Landscape Structures playground equipment featured at the EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival. Then see how you can design nature-inspired playgrounds for your community or school playground at playlsi.com.

Generate discussion about the importance of play

Are you looking for resources on trends affecting the playground industry? We can help! We’ve created whitepapers to help generate discussion about the importance of play in early childhood development, outdoor play during school hours, and balancing safety and challenge, and serve as a reference during future playground projects. Get details below about each of our whitepapers, and request a download today.

Decline in children’s play time shown in new study

Shaped by Play: The Formative Role of Play and Playgrounds
Child’s play, we are learning, is not just fun and games. Children’s play behavior appears to be essential preparation for a successful adult life. We partnered with the University of Minnesota’s Institute of Child Development to understand how behavior on school and community playgrounds contributes to whole-child development. This meta-study aggregates and analyzes key findings from some of the most influential studies on children and play.

Playgrounds are a place where children can learn and grow through exploration and social interactionLearn about the importance of balancing safety and challenge for kids ages 5 to 12.

Balancing Safety & Challenge in Playground Design
Playgrounds are a place where children can learn and grow through exploration and social interaction. However, that development can’t take place without age and developmentally appropriate challenges. Parental concern along with standards that have decreased design freedom are contributors to the lack of challenging opportunities in today’s play equipment. Finding a balance between challenge and safety is important to childhood development, and society can help determine a healthy median.

Both outdoor physical activity and indoor classroom time are important for kids’ growth and development.

The Importance of Outdoor Play & Physical Activity During School Hours
Both outdoor physical activity and indoor classroom time are important for kids’ growth and development. School provides students with the education they need to have a successful career, and physical activity gives them a chance to stay healthy. Unfortunately, not all kids get their daily 60 minutes outside. School is a place where kids can supplement the lack of physical activity they get at home, and help kids become smarter, healthier and stronger.

Find more playground education resources including continuing education sessions and infographics at playlsi.com.

Serving up play to two Vancouver schools

Volunteers from Circle K International built playgrounds at two Vancouver SchoolsWe’re proud to say that last week we worked together with Circle K International (CKI) members, Kiwanis and our local playground consultant, Habitat Systems, to build playgrounds at two deserving schools in Vancouver, British Columbia. More than 150 CKI volunteers installed playgrounds at Sir Wilfrid Laurier Elementary School and Sir Wilfrid Laurier Annex as part of CKI’s 13th Annual Large Scale Service Project, which took place prior to their annual convention.

After two days of construction, two new school playgrounds were ready for students in Vancouver.

Both schools had aging wooden play structures that were scheduled for removal due to safety concerns. “The students were aware that the playgrounds were being removed, and were disappointed,” explained Janet Souther, principal of Sir Wilfrid Laurier Elementary School. “The Laurier parents, staff and students at both the Elementary and the Annex have been working hard on various fundraising projects but new playgrounds were still years away. Landscape Structures, Kiwanis, Habitat Systems and our local corporate donors have made these school playgrounds a reality and we are beyond grateful!”

Sir Wilfrid Laurier Elementary & Annex celebrate their new playgrounds with a grand opening event on the last day of school.

After two days of construction, some of which took place during rain showers, the two playgrounds were complete. On Thursday, June 27, both the Elementary and Annex celebrated the new playgrounds, in addition to the last day of school, with grand opening ceremonies.

School in Novi, Mich., awarded $50,000 in inclusive playground equipment

Thornton Creek Elementary School in Novi, Mich., is the grand prize winner of the School Grounds. Playgrounds. Common Ground.™ essay contest.

We’re proud to announce that Thornton Creek Elementary School in Novi, Mich., was named the grand prize winner of the School Grounds. Playgrounds. Common Ground.™ essay contest! The school was awarded $50,000 in inclusive playground equipment from Landscape Structures to help them expand the inclusivity of the school environment to the playground.

Thornton Creek Elementary School has a mission to share the responsibility of creating a safe and positive environment that promotes self-esteem, mutual respect and optimum student learning, and each member of the school community is taught and understands that everyone learns at different rates, times and through different strategies. Because Thornton Creek takes students’ learning opportunities from the classroom to the playground, they realized that it, too, needed to be more inclusive to welcome the diverse population.

Runners-up were awarded $15,000 each in inclusive playground equipment from Landscape Structures. Runners-up included:

  • Utsalady Elementary School in Camano Island, Wash.
  • Lone Dell Elementary in Arnold, Mo.
  • Clyde F. Brown Elementary School in Millis, Mass.
  • James Whiteside Elementary in Richmond, British Columbia

The school playground contest was sponsored by Landscape Structures in partnership with the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) Foundation in an effort to bring inclusive playground environments to schools across North America. The NAESP Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the National Association of Elementary School Principals, a professional organization serving elementary and middle school principals and other education leaders throughout the U.S., Canada and overseas.