- From a Northville Public Schools press release
Thornton Creek Elementary School in Novi has been chosen as the top winner of the national School Grounds. Playgrounds. Common Ground. contest for its essay submission describing how it would benefit from a new inclusive playground.
Thornton Creek will receive $50,000 in inclusive playground equipment from Landscape Structures, which sponsored the contest in partnership with the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) Foundation.
“Our committee is honored to receive this award from Landscape Structures and the NAESP Foundation,” said Alison Epler, principal of Thornton Creek Elementary School. “Play is serious work at Thornton Creek, and we look forward to strengthening our outdoor play space in order to welcome children of all abilities. Not only will the new playground be used for play time, but it will act as an outdoor classroom that helps our students develop their social, problem-solving and gross motor skills, and much more!”
The contest furthers the sponsoring organizations' collective mission to enhance the lives of children with inclusive play environments. 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.
“Landscape Structures is excited to work with the NAESP Foundation to help create a more overall inclusive environment at schools across North America,” said Pat Faust, president of Landscape Structures. “We are committed to designing inclusive playgrounds where all children can learn and play together, and we are honored to award these contest prizes and look forward to seeing how the new playgrounds inspire acceptance of all abilities in the winning schools.”
Thornton Creek's mission is 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.
“Schools have long been focused on creating inclusive learning environments inside the classroom,” said Ernest J. Mannino, Chief Executive Officer, National Association of Elementary School Principals Foundation. “Thornton Creek Elementary School understands the importance of expanding that inclusivity to the playground, and we’re excited to see the outcome of their playground project.”
Five runners-up around the country were awarded $15,000 each in inclusive playground equipment from Landscape Structures.