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Project File: : Learning begins on the playground

When building a new elementary school campus, Kenston Local School District in Bainbridge Township, Ohio, incorporated an educational component into every aspect of the plans for Timmons Elementary School, including the playground area.

Extending traditional classroom education into the outdoors challenged children to think about the environment while having fun. Play areas and even required facilities, such as stormwater-detention areas, have an educational orientation.

Environmental sustainability was important to the district. Existing qualities of the location were used to enhance the design and the site's innate characteristics. Sloping fields and wooded areas provided a challenge to preserve the functional forest while assembling an educational facility consisting of outdoor classrooms and other learning environments.

Near the playground area, student-constructed bird feeders, woodland trails and animals surround water elements. Trails are marked in the remaining forest so that teachers can use them as a hands-on laboratory for instruction about the forest ecology.

Environmental Design Group, Inc. (Akron, Ohio) worked on the project.

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