Taking global education to the playground: Landscape Structures designs a space to play and learn for diverse school in Tennessee.
Lausanne Collegiate School in Memphis is an International Baccalaureate school serving students and parents from 54 different countries in pre-K through grade 12. When the school wanted to design a new playground, administrators wanted to demonstrate its global brand and create an area with a world theme reflective of students and their families.
Stewart Crais, Lausanne's director of operations, says the school also needed a playground that could fit into a confined area at the front of the campus and add to its curb appeal.
The school reached out to a couple of companies to see which one could match their ultimate vision and selected Minnesota-based Landscape Structures to work on the playground project.
Vision into reality
Crais says Landscape Structures and its Tennessee-based distributor, Recreational Concepts, made a strong first impression with their initial presentation and design.
"They were able to take what we had in our heads and put that design onto paper," Crais says. "They were able to show us something that we felt was going be close to what we wanted regarding a playground that represented the world."
Third-grade students had a chance to be active participants in the design process by submitting sketches of what a Lausanne playground should look like as part of a curriculum-specific project.
"Our students do a lot of project-based learning that ties into our International Baccalaureate program, and third-graders always have a specific project focused on inventions that often ties in architecture and design activities," Crais says. "Creating designs for the playground project was a natural fit into their standard curriculum."
The ultimate playground design includes 14 play structures on safety surfacing that mimics a world map.
Students can travel from South America to the Great Wall of China without touching the ground, moving through six continents and interacting with seven monuments and the flags of 18 countries. The playground includes the ZipKrooz[R], a playground zip line, which takes students from the Horn of Africa to Australia. There are climbable replicas of Big Ben, the Eiffel Tower and Taj Mahal that provide opportunities for students to engage in imaginative play and to discover the world beyond them while staying active. The Motion play structure, one of the compact designs within the Smart Play[R] line, was the playground equipment addition for children ages 2 to 5.
Return on investment
Since the playground opened in August 2015, Lausanne knew it was getting a return on its investment. Crais adds that Landscape Structures created quality custom structures and installed artificial turf and there have not been any maintenance issues on the playground. He says it is also an admissions tool--it's one of the tour stops for prospective students and their families in lower grades.
"This is more than a typical playground and we wanted to make sure we had something that would last a long time," Crais says. "Putting that money into a playground of the world, which is going to last 20 years or more, is quite well worth it for us."
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