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PIES Schoolyard to Become Place to Play, Learn, Nibble and Grow

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PIES Schoolyard to Become Place to Play, Learn, Nibble and Grow
Posted on 04/25/2017
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Peaks Island Elementary School (PIES) plans to use a School Ground Greening Grant to transform its schoolyard into a natural play space/outdoor classroom that can be used for fun, growing edible plants and community engagement. PIES is inviting community stakeholders to a design charrette on Wednesday, May 3, to help create a master design plan for its schoolyard.

The charrette will be held from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the school, located at 4 Church St. on Peaks Island.

“Join us to discuss and brainstorm ideas to make our schoolyard a place where children can play, learn, nibble and grow!” says an invitation from the school to the community. “We have a grant and landscape architect to help us develop this area, and would love your input!”

PIES teacher leader Renee Bourgoine-Serio said the school received the $2,000 School Ground Greening Grant in collaboration with Portland Trails. The schoolyard is about .25 acres in size. Currently it has some standard playground equipment, three unused raised beds, and some broken wooden structures, Bourgoine-Serio said. However, she said, it does have a new steel fence funded locally through a capital campaign that earned more than $30,000 for school improvements.

“Why are we focusing so much on the physical plant?” Bourgoine-Serio said. “Because we want the outside of our school to reflect the really exciting work going on inside of our building. Sense of place is a huge piece of island life and the island's school should reflect those values.”

PIES’ goal for the schoolyard is “to create a master plan that is more relevant, useful and aesthetically pleasing, as well as ways to engage our year-round and summer community meaningfully. With enough stakeholders and creative ideas we can develop our schoolyard to better meet our community's needs while offering a vibrant living classroom for student and community engagement.”

Ellen Mahoney, PIES community coordinator, said that once a final plan is in place, implementation should take place this summer or early fall.

For more information, contact the school at 766-2528.