George W. Childs School Celebrates Rooftop Playspace with Ribbon Cutting

Posted on February 10, 2023
Categories: News from SDP

George W. Childs School cut the ceremonial ribbon on a new rooftop playspace in the Point Breeze section of Philadelphia. The playspace was made possible by Neighbors Investing in Childs Elementary (NICE) with fundraising efforts from State Representative Jordan Harris and City Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson and contributions from the community, The McLean Contributionship, The Hess Foundation, The Fund for the School District of Philadelphia and the Redevelopment Authority.

With the need for a better playspace for pre-kindergarten through second grade students, a vision to replace the current rooftop playspace was formed. The previous rooftop that had old, broken turf and no additional play equipment was transformed into an ADA-compliant playspace with a new turf, climbing structures, a slide, stealing areas and a swing in a colorful, playful environment for students to have imaginative play.

“This rooftop playspace mirrors the School District’s commitment to provide all students with a safe, welcoming and healthy learning environment aligning with our Board’s Goals and Guardrails,” said Tony B. Watlington, Sr., Ed.D., “Thank you to the Neighbors Investing in Childs Elementary, or NICE, a great example of a partnership, for helping to make a difference in students’ lives. This project is just one example of how public-private-community collaboration can transform experiences for our children.”

G.W. Childs Elementary School serves about 500 students in kindergarten through eighth grade. NICE, the nonprofit that supports the school, is a committed group of dedicated community members who help make a difference in student’s lives.

“The vision for this project began with the school Principal and the students, but it became a reality when the neighborhood rallied behind it,” said Diana Liefer, former President of NICE, volunteer and Childs parent. “We did a lot of grassroots engagement from community-led design sessions to fundraising through bake sales, block parties, and beyond. Our neighborhood believes our children are valuable and worthy of beautiful, safe, spaces to learn and play.”

The amazing concept and design was created by The Big Sandbox, which works to mobilize urban communities around green infrastructure and produce meaningful community spaces and Studio Ludio, a nonprofit whose mission is building better play through research, design, and advocacy.

“We are so excited to support the new playground for Childs Elementary School! Our design has plenty of places to perch, be upside down, slide, run, leap, and roam over net climbers, hexagon houses, rolling turf hills, climbing tunnel, and embankment slide. Small but mighty, we met the extreme weight and size limitations with lightweight play elements that spark joy, and support children’s physical growth, and social/emotional development.”