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Monarch Academy Annapolis Builds Outdoor Classroom, Play Spaces for Children

Nature-inspired play spaces, basketball court and soccer field open to the community

ANNAPOLIS—Monarch Academy Annapolis, an Anne Arundel County Public Schools contract elementary school, has begun development of three children’s activity areas: an outdoor classroom; a nature-inspired play space for younger children; and a webbed climbing structure, basketball court and soccer field for older students.

upperlevelplayground_WEB_ML“We designed these spaces using the latest research to help students connect with the natural world, play imaginatively and grow physically, socially and emotionally,” Monarch Academy Annapolis Principal Susan Myers said. “Studies show that spending time in nature helps students focus, relax and develop creativity and language skills.”

Monarch Academy Annapolis just completed the 13,000-square-foot outdoor classroom, outfitted with walking paths, natural log seating areas, tables and play equipment designed to blend with the environment. Set in a forested area next to a stream behind the school building, the space will provide opportunity for students to observe, learn and engage with nature.

“Our new outdoor classroom and play spaces will inspire our children and empower them to grow as learners, as people and as global citizens,” said Andrew L. Ross, president and CEO of TranZed Alliance, which operates Monarch Academy Annapolis. “The spaces support our curriculum themes of asking who we are, how the world works and how we can share our planet.”

Monarch Academy Annapolis will complete the 7,894-square-foot nature-inspired play space adjacent to the building this fall. Like the outdoor classroom, the play space will blend with the environment. It will also offer logs, boulders and equipment for climbing, a butterfly garden and special sensory area for children with autism. The school designed the play space for kindergarten and first-grade students.

In addition, the webbed climbing structure, basketball court and soccer field, which cover a total of 17,950 square feet, will be completed next year. Monarch Academy Annapolis staff, parents and an outdoor play consultant collaborated to design the outdoor classroom and play spaces.

The Anne Arundel County Executive and County Council are supporting the construction of the activity areas with a $500,000 grant. Estimated costs are $73,000 for the outdoor classroom, $143,894 for the nature-inspired play space and $516,536 for the climbing structure, basketball court and soccer field, which will expand the playground experiences for Annapolis families.

Monarch Academy Annapolis opened in the fall of 2017 at 2000 Capital Drive. Formerly occupied by the Capital Gazette newspapers, the building was completely remodeled into a school.

Monarch Academy Annapolis, an affiliate of the TranZed Alliance, is an Anne Arundel County Public Schools contract school serving students in kindergarten through fifth grade living in the Annapolis area. Monarch Academy Annapolis operates using the Transformation Education philosophy that infuses a school’s beliefs and values into the look of the school building, instructional approach, teachers’ mindset and behavior and operating systems. (www.monarchacademy.org)