MACON – Before the sun sets on Saturday, the children who attend Woodfield Academy in Macon will receive a great new place to play.
The new playground will be fully assembled from scratch in less than eight hours with the help of more than 200 volunteers from Woodfield Academy, organizers from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and KaBOOM! and residents of the Macon community. Volunteers will gather for a kickoff ceremony at 8:30 a.m. and will complete the playground project in time for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 2:30 p.m.
“KaBOOM! playground builds inspire residents to put their passion for their community into action, furthering Knight Foundation’s focus on informed and engaged communities,” said Beverly Blake, Macon program director for Knight Foundation. “We hope the interest sparked on this playground drives residents to become engaged in future efforts to better their community.”
Currently, the children only have one swing set and do not have playground equipment to enjoy. Planning for the playground began at a Design Day event held in April when local Woodfield students, parents and community leaders met with organizers from KaBOOM! and Knight Foundation to design their dream playground. The children's drawings were then used to create the final playground design.
“This beautiful new playground is extremely important to the development of our young school because we have not yet been able to use our financial resources to provide one”, said Becky Sessions, Head of Woodfield Academy. According to Sessions, children naturally learn important social and emotional skills through playful interaction; children with diverse learning styles typically have greater needs in this area of learning. “We cannot thank Knight Foundation and KaBOOM! enough for recognizing this and taking action to address it,” added Sessions.
The playground is the third of 13 to be built by KaBOOM! and Knight Foundation this year, and one of more than 150 builds KaBOOM! will lead across the country in 2010 in an effort to provide a great place to play within walking distance of every child in America.
In addition to the community-built playground, the new play area will also include an Imagination Playground in a Box – a breakthrough playspace concept designed by architect David Rockwell to encourage child-directed, unstructured free play. Complete with custom designed blue foam blocks and other loose parts, and elements that encourage sand and water play, Imagination Playground in a Box allows children to constantly reconfigure their environment and design their own course of play.
About Woodfield Academy
Woodfield was founded in 1997 by parents of children with learning differences, frustrated by the lack of educational options for their families. Today the academy serves children in grades two through twelve and is the only special purpose mission independent school in the middle Georgia region.
About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation advances journalism in the digital age and invests in the vitality of communities where the Knight brothers owned newspapers. Knight Foundation focuses on projects that promote informed and engaged communities and lead to transformational change. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.
Headquartered in Washington, D.C., KaBOOM! is a national non-profit organization dedicated to saving play. Through community building, the company is focused on giving every child in America a great place to play within walking distance. Since 1996, KaBOOM! has used its innovative community-build model to bring together business and community interests to construct more than 1,700 new playgrounds, skate parks, sports fields and ice rinks across North America. KaBOOM! also offers a variety of resources, including an online community, free online trainings, grants, publications and the KaBOOM! National Campaign for Play, which includes Playful City USA and Playmakers – a national network of individual advocates for play. KaBOOM! also has offices in Chicago and San Mateo, Calif. For more information, visit www.kaboom.org.
About Imagination Playground LLC
Imagination Playground is a breakthrough playspace concept designed to encourage child-directed, unstructured “free play,” the kind of play that experts say is critical to a child’s intellectual, social, physical and emotional development. With a focus on loose parts, complimented by a manipulable environment and Play Associates, it offers a changing array of elements that allow children to constantly reconfigure their environment and to design their own course of play. Giant foam blocks, mats, wagons, fabric and crates overflow with creative potential for children to play, dream, build and explore endless possibilities. Imagination Playground was conceived and designed by internationally acclaimed architect David Rockwell. His firm, Rockwell Group, has partnered with KaBOOM!, the leading national non-profit organization dedicated to bringing play to kids everywhere. Through this mission-driven partnership, we are committed to bringing Imagination Playground to communities across the country. For more information, visit www.imaginationplayground.org.
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- Becky Sessions, Woodfield Academy, 478-477-9844, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Beverly Blake, Knight Foundation, 478-442-1335, email@example.com
- Mike Vietti, KaBOOM!, 202-464-6076, firstname.lastname@example.org
Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.