SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

August 22, 2013

Parents create a playground — and a community — in Ipswich

New play area will have tree house play structure, zip lines, musical instruments, gardens

(Continued)

“It really created a buzz around the project,” Wertz said. “It was fun to see their creativity.”

The project will also address chronic drainage and flooding issues in the playground area, Wertz said. The area has been very dusty because the grass won’t grow.

Winthrop School Principal Sheila McAdams said it has been exciting to watch the project gain momentum over the past year. It is more than just building a new playground, she said; it’s an educational lesson for the students as well.

“It is a good example of how people come together and work together,” she said. “It is a good example of democracy.”

She said the new playground is designed in part to foster exploration and socialization. There will be a walking path made out of willow branches, sun dials and musical instruments. A small amphitheater for outdoor lessons is also included in the design.

“It is going to feel like play, but they will also be learning as well,” McAdams said. “It is nice to fit that in. Those are real-life experiences. It is an example of how learning happens all the time.”

The fundraising campaign was kicked off with a $50,000 matching grant from Doug DeAngelis, who has a son going into second grade. He said it was his son’s first year at the school after attending a Montessori school in Beverly.

“I figured one year’s worth of enrolling my son at the Montessori School would help jump-start the financial campaign for a playground that would help generations of kids, not just him,” DeAngelis said.

He said it’s been great working with all the parents who are committed to making the project a success.

“It is creating a lot of ownership in the school,” he said.

The Institution for Savings donated $50,000, the extended day program $25,000 and EBSCO $10,000 toward the project.

For more information on the project or to donate or volunteer, go to winthropplayground.org.

Staff writer Jonathan Phelps can be reached at 978-338-2527 or by email at jphelps@salemnews.com. Follow him on Twitter at JPhelps_SN.

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