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An Outdoor Play and Learn Area

Originally appears in the Summer 2013 issue

If Albert Einstein were to design a playground, it would be the outdoor play and learn area at All Saints Catholic School in Norwalk, Connecticut. The school’s recently developed playground is a unique facility that promotes both play and an understanding of the physical sciences and energy conservation. Parents at the elementary school collaborated with innovators from the Columbia University School of Architecture, Parsons School of Design, LTL Architects, and the Stepping Stones Museum for Children on this one-of-a-kind playground. The environmental elements and activities in the playground dovetail with a school STEM (science, technology, energy and math) curriculum being taught in the classroom.  Here is a summary of its most unique features and some of the challenges we faced.

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Amanda Gebicki and Alison Reilly are parents of students at All Saints School in Norwalk, Connecticut. Amanda is an attorney who has tutored students in NYC and Boston public schools.  Alison has served as the Children’s Committee Chairman on the Compo Beach Playground Project in Westport, CT and spearheaded a massive, community-wide Hurricane Katrina relief effort, filling eight 28 ft. long trucks with much needed supplies for the victims.  Together, Amanda and Alison started a parent-run Art Smart Program at All Saints and played leadership roles in community efforts to secure $3.8 million for indoor air quality improvements in their town’s public school system.

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