Opal School closed in 2021. You can continue to access these resources for free at teachingpreschoolpartners.org/resource-library/.

Opal School Children Design a Playground

Each year, graduating Opal School students give a gift to the Portland Children's Museum. In this video, fifth graders explain the process they used to design their gift: A new school playground.

Download Josie Maya PLayground 5th grade Project presentation video Event Final H.264 10.21.11.mov (243442.3K) 

What do you notice about the process? The approach? The children themselves?

Share your reflections and questions in the comments field below or the discussion forum!

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4 responses to “Opal School Children Design a Playground

  1. Wow, these were my students and our classroom project three years ago at Opal School. One thing that amazed me during this process is how the landscape architect that we worked with during our design was willing to slow down, listen to and trust the students. She pointed us to the resources we needed to do the design (design codes and procedures) and the students read them to understand them and incorporate them into their work. When the students’ work was done, she commented that she was surprised by how capable they were. How can we make visible to other adults what we already know about the amazing capabilities of children?

  2. I think you’ve hit on the right combination for the outside expert, Levia: Someone who has expertise in their field and a patient approach to working with children.

  3. I was also struck by the landscape architect’s role. It’s an empowering thing to have your (a child’s) ideas heard by an adult. Obviously these children are used to it. So the risk, as adults is in choosing an expert adult from outside the community that is will to listen and truly collaborate. But I think this kind of collaboration is the key step in truly advocating for children’s rights as whole citizens of our community: we have to set up situations where they can advocate for themselves and trust they will be heard.

  4. What an empowering experience for these kids! Such a valuable life lesson to see a project completely through from start to finish. What did I notice about the process?- That when given the chance, these kids can be totally engaged and thoroughly responsible for a MAJOR project.

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