The Back Yard: The boundary of the school grounds is the walking/bike path, which circles around behind the school. The playground there has some very nice equipment. There is plenty of space for games. There are also some nice wooded areas where the children can build forts or play games. A basic rule of the playground is that children need to be where the teacher can see them at all times. If a child starts to go where a teacher cannot see them clearly, the teacher will call them over and remind them of the rule. Elementary children are not allowed to step on the path behind the school unless they are on their way somewhere with a teacher, making the path the absolute outer boundary of the play area (but in places the boundary of the acceptable play area is closer to the school than the path because there is no clear line of sight to there from the area where the teacher generally observes from). The line of sight rule pertains to middle school students as well. However, the middle school students are allowed access to certain nearby areas which are on the other side the path, but only when elementary children are not present on the playground.
The Field: This is the area on the north side of Hundertmark Road. It is accessible through the underpass, so generally it is not necessary to cross any street in order to get there. Classes do sometimes take the over-the-road route because of slippery conditions on the grassy slope, and when they do, they cross Hundertmark at the pedestrian crosswalk stripes. It is a five-minute walk from the school. There is a baseball diamond and backstop there. The huge open area is used for dodgeball, capture the flag, soccer and many other games. The children are allowed to go into the woods and along the creek as long as a teacher can see them.
The Creek: The children are allowed to go near the creek, to wade in the creek if they have appropriate footwear, and to walk on the ice in the winter as long as they are supervised closely by a teacher. The creek is about one foot deep at its deepest point. We believe that children’s natural attraction to the creek should be encouraged in a safe, educational and fun way.
Lake Grace: The Lake Grace Park is about a ten-minute walk from the school. It has a large, open play area, horseshoe game setup, basketball hoop with asphalt slab and a beach. The children can make structures in the sand and are allowed to wade in the shallow water with bare feet in warm weather or with wader boots in colder weather. They are not allowed to play in such a way as to get their clothes wet.
We do not consider going to any of these areas as field trips. They are more like extensions of our playground. Teachers accompanying students to these areas carry first-aid kits and Motorola radios that keep them in communication with someone back at the school at all times.