A Space to Play and Learn

Taking global education to the playground

A Space to Play and Learn

Lausanne Collegiate School

Memphis, Tenn.

Lausanne (pronounced Law-Zann) Collegiate School in Memphis, Tenn., is an internationally diverse school—30 percent of students and/or parents represent 54 different countries—that serves kids in preschool to grade 12. And to further demonstrate the school’s global brand, they created a playground design with a world theme.

“We really want to provide a global education for our students,” explained Stewart Crais, director of operations at Lausanne Collegiate School. “So we incorporated that sense of global thinking into the playground.”

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Global Design

Stewart reached out to Recreational Concepts, the exclusive distributor of Landscape Structures commercial playground equipment in Tennessee, to learn more about what they could bring to the playground project.

“Once we understood their vision for the playground, we reached out to Landscape Structures and told them about the opportunity,” said Dan Stewart, principal of Recreational Concepts. “Then we worked with a custom playground designer that really listened to the client and delivered an amazingly creative design.”

"Our students do a lot of project-based learning that ties into our International Baccalaureate Programme, and the third graders always have a specific project focused on inventions that often ties in architecture and design activities. Creating designs for the playground project was a natural fit into their standard curriculum." Stewart Crais Director of Operations, Lausanne Collegiate School

With the designer on board, Dan and his team collaborated with Lausanne on their project. After several meetings and reviewing sketches from third grade students, who were assigned a class project of designing a playground that represented Lausanne, Dan presented a winning design to the school.

The playground design includes 14 different playstructures that represent a tour of the world on safety surfacing designed to mimic a world map. Students travel from Cape Horn, South America, to the Great Wall of China without touching the ground, traveling through six continents and interacting with seven monuments with the flags of 18 different countries flying above.

The playground includes the ZipKrooz™, a playground zip line, which takes students from the Horn of Africa to Australia. Even more, climbable replicas of Big Ben, the Eiffel Tower and the Taj Mahal provide opportunities for kids to interact, engage in imaginative play and discover the world beyond them while staying active.

Playground products shown in video may not be appropriate for every age group. Playsystems shown in video are for demonstration purposes only. Product configurations may vary.

Teamwork Brings Success

As the designs were being finalized, Stewart shared that the school was planning a celebration for the playground opening on Aug. 17, 2015. Dan then took that date and backed it up to create a project schedule that included removing old equipment, site preparation and lots more.

“This was a complex project, and the thing that made this work was the close collaboration among everybody,” explained Dan.

“Landscape Structures was the company to really understand what we were looking for, understand the culture of our school, and understand the mission and vision of our school and students.” 

The schedule provided a snapshot to everyone involved in the project—Lausanne, Recreational Concepts, Landscape Structures, surfacing and fencing companies, and an engineering firm that helped place footers among waterlines and the school’s fiber optic network.

“Dan and his team did a fantastic job of time lining the whole project,” said Stewart. “Everything went like clockwork and it was a big project to manage in a short amount of time. They were able to make that happen.”

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Enhanced Curb Appeal

The playground successfully opened on Aug. 17, 2015, to more than 200 students and families of the Lausanne Collegiate School community. And although it’s been open since the beginning of the school year, students are still excited to play.

“Even after being in school for months, the students still can’t wait to get out on the playground each day in anticipation of their time exploring all of their favorite features and activities around the world,” said Stewart. “Our fifth and sixth graders have been equally excited that they now have access to this great play space as well.”

Even more, the playground has enhanced the school’s curb appeal to the outside world.

“Being one of many independent schools in the Memphis community, it is important that we have the opportunity to distinguish ourselves for the unique opportunities that await students at Lausanne,” Stewart shared. “Now passersby see the playground and instantly get a sense of our community’s global mindedness and realize that we must have even more to offer inside the doors.”