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Sea Crest unveils new outdoor play area

First day of school features new playground

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Head of School Dr. Tekakwitha Pernambuco-Wise cuts the ribbon for the school's new playground on the first day back to class on Wednesday morning. The playground is still under construction and will be fully accessible to students in the coming weeks. Kyle Ludowitz / Review

On the last day of the last school year at Sea Crest, construction began on a new outdoor play area. School officials hoped to have it ready when 224 students arrived again in the fall. 

Today, Sea Crest’s returning students and new junior kindergarteners watched a red ribbon-cutting at the new amphitheater, which is part of the larger construction. 

Although the play area is not finished, it will be completed this fall. 

Head of school Tekakwitha Pernambuco-Wise didn’t want to merely update the existing field, she wanted to use it as an opportunity to hear from families and students how the space could be used as a way to further their mission of curiosity and creativity. 

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Students at the Sea Crest School march to the gym for an assembly on the first day of school. Kyle Ludowitz / Review

“Last year, I had a child stop me when he was coming in, it was the first day of school, and he said, ‘Where is our new playground?’” she said. 

The new space, which was funded by the community, features a playground, creative play areas where kids can mine for rocks or build fairy houses, a soccer field, an amphitheater, mindfulness garden and vegetable garden. 

“We want children to be outdoors,” Pernambuco-Wise said. “Our mission for that is so every child can have a favorite place outdoors.” 

This school year will also mark the beginning of a junior kindergarten program. When the school was considering the program, administrators decided if seven students were interested, they’d move forward. This year, 14 young learners will attend.

Pernambuco-Wise said the curriculum for the 4-year-olds is focused on wonder, curiosity and play. 

“It is so great to see the youngest ones on campus,” Stephanie Hanepen, admissions and community engagement associate, said. “One 4- year-old came (into orientation) and said, ‘I’m ready.’ She had her little lunch box in her hand. They’re just so excited for this new program.”

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