Watching Playgrounds Evolve at Montessori Academy of Lancaster

The play equipment for the playground at the Montessori Academy of Lancaster
Image via General Recreation
The play equipment for the playground at the Montessori Academy of Lancaster

Montessori Academy of Lancaster is a unique school nestled in the beautiful Pennsylvania countryside of Manheim Township.

The school takes a holistic approach to student learning, encouraging student-tended gardens and offering nature trails and a taste of farm life.

It also values the use of play to build relationships.

The school built its first playground, a Landscape Structures PlayBooster, in the early 2000s for children ages 5 to 12, followed by a playground for 6 to 23-month-olds in 2008.

Its latest playground project focuses on play for children ages 2 to 12.

To bring the newer playground online, the Academy consulted with General Recreation’s Steve Hemler.

The school’s newest playground replaces an older wooden structure. They wanted a space for their older toddlers, as well as their 3- to 6-year-old friends, along with elements their other playgrounds didn’t have.

“Even with a limited budget, I think we got a great variety of equipment,” said Academy Principal Karen B. Rubenstein. “And, as for the results, the children LOVE the new playground!”

The playground’s color palette includes natural greens and browns, along with brightly-colored stepping pods and block climbers for excellent visibility. Various play features like the Wiggle Worm Crawl Tunnel and Double Poly Slide encourage cooperative and social play.

In determining an approach to the structures selected, Rubenstein explains they also wanted the children to be able to “negotiate” the equipment and “problem solve outside as well as in the classroom.”

She and her staff believe the playground at the Montessori Academy of Lancaster allows for that.

General Recreation Inc. in Newtown Square serves Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware, and has helped hundreds of community leaders and organizations build playgrounds that are safe, aesthetically pleasing, and made to last.

General Recreation projects are supported by expert and trusted services, including site evaluation, playground design, installation, and community build services.

Find out more about the work of General Recreation.

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