Montessori School in Crawford

Sam Peluso and JD Stark try out the new wiggly bridge.

The students at the Montessori School at Crawford have something to look forward to this school year. A new playground sprouted up at the school, just in time for recess.

Jenny Eyler, the school’s head teacher, explained that the design exemplifies the school’s Montessori Method of child-centered, hands-on, whole-child learning beyond the classroom. The design is kid-friendly with organic and varied features.

The playground is organized into eight themed areas divided by natural features and connected by bridges and paths, to encourage different types of play and to encourage the learning of different skills. These features are for various ability levels and accessibility.

The playground encourages running, jumping, climbing, hiding, building and interaction with a rich natural environment. In addition to free play, the new area will be used for learning about nature, gardening and other sciences. The facility is now up and available for play with some finishing touches still to come.

Clearwater Designs, Ltd. of Paonia designed and executed the improvements. This much-needed improvement came about through a $29,428 Healthy Beginnings, Active Futures grant from Qualistar (now Healthy Childcare Colorado) and the Colorado Health Foundation.

The North Fork Montessori School at Crawford, of the Delta County School District 50J, has a student population of 150 children preschool through sixth grade in the North Fork Valley. The school has been designated as a School of Innovation by the state of Colorado, the only rural school designated in the state. Its students consistently score among the top percentile in the state-on-state assessments.

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