Austin Students to Design the Playground of Their Dreams With KaBOOM! and GM

Oct 25, 2018 2:30 PM ET
Blog

Is that a space shuttle? No, it’s a pirate ship! Oh, wait, could it be a castle? It could be any one of these and more, as KaBOOM! makes its way to Wayside Altamira Academy (AMA), to help enhance outdoor play time, imagination and fun for pre-K to fifth grade students in Austin, Texas.

Thanks to a special grant from KaBOOM! and funding partner General Motors, along with community volunteers, Wayside AMA students will get to design the playground of their dreams and see it come to life in front of their eyes.

KaBOOM! is a national non-profit dedicated to ensuring all kids have great, safe places to play. Some may  recognize the non-profit for its appearance on a self-titled episode of NBC’s Parks and Rec, but its daily efforts and impact are so much more in bringing joy to kids’ lives all over the country.

According to the organization, 80 percent of elementary school principals report that recess has a positive impact on academic achievement. However, only one in four children gets a daily dose of 60 minutes of physical activity or active play. For the 16 million American children living in poverty, KaBOOM! aims to level the playing field and enable all kids the chance to thrive through fun and safe outdoor activity.

The goal is to allow AMA students, who already have the benefit of an International Baccalaureate education at Wayside, to balance indoor scholarly learning with imaginative outdoor play. While the AMA campus has ample open outdoor space, it does not yet have a designated playground for younger scholars. This joint effort will help create the unique opportunity for young students who may have never had a school playground of their own, to ultimately get to use a playscape they designed themselves.

A jungle gym transforms from a mere piece of equipment to a dream come true.

The community-led project officially kicked off earlier this month with a design workshop, where students were asked to draw pictures of their dream play space, and present their ideas to parents and the planning committee. A community meeting will be held to implement their ideas into the finalized building plans.

The playground is slated to be built December 1 at Wayside Schools’ newest campus and the network’s third permanent location in Southeast Austin, which is home to both Wayside AMA and Wayside Sci-Tech High School. More than 150 community volunteers made up of scholars, parents and team members from Wayside, KaBOOM! and General Motors will come together to build the playground. The space will be ready for use on December 4.

“General Motors is proud to partner with KaBOOM! to create safe and prosperous environments for children to thrive,” said GM Director of Corporate Giving Heidi Magyar in a Wayside AMA press release. “This investment serves as a foundation to help improve the quality of life for children within the Austin community.”

Check the General Motors Green blog soon for updates on this important initiative’s progress.