After months of anticipation, students, faculty, and staff gathered outside on The Rumson Country Day School campus to participate in grade-level ribbon-cutting ceremonies that celebrated the official opening of RCDS’s updated recreational areas. The spaces, outfitted with a variety of new equipment and toys, will offer rich, creative play opportunities where students develop strong gross motor skills and cultivate their social, emotional and academic growth across the years.
“While playing can look a lot like simple fun, it is actually a complex set of skills that children work hard to master as they learn and grow,” said Head of School Lower School Dr. Nancy Holodak. “At RCDS, we are devoted to giving our students the time and space they need to play, and with the creation of new and updated play spaces, we know the benefits will extend far beyond the outdoors, and into classrooms where refreshed minds focus longer and learning thrives.”
During the ceremonies, a few lucky Upper and Lower School Gators were invited to hold a green ribbon and man a pair of oversized scissors to do the honors. Students from the early childhood center took the first plunge down the new slide and broke through festive crepe paper to symbolize the opening of their new jungle gym.
The moment the ribbon was cut and the crepe paper broken, students swarmed the playground that now features a rubber-poured surface to ensure safety and a developmentally appropriate jungle gym for young learners with two climbing walls, a double slide and twisty slide. Thematic play equipment including wagons, cars, bounce-hoppers, spinning seats and a rocking boat are welcomed additions that support classroom curriculum. Upper School students are eager to enjoy their new recreational space equipped with hoops and nets for volleyball, tennis, basketball, pickleball and four square that will enhance their physical education experience and RCDS’s after-school athletic programs.
In the spring, RCDS’s Annual Gala, Gator Bash, raised funds necessary to make the “Gators at Play” project possible. School representative Michael Mannino has overseen the work of MRC Construction and the RCDS maintenance staff who aided in final completion of the project.
“We are so grateful for the support from the RCDS community,” said Director of Development Missy Falkenberg. “Our families understand that play is much more than a break from the classroom and is a key part to the healthy development of mind and body for our students.”