Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Park(ing) Day at Salmon Bay School

When most people think of Park(ing) Day, they think of adults reclaiming the street and other spaces devoted to automobiles. But a group of fourth graders at Salmon Bay School in Ballard participated this year, and had a blast doing so. A report from the classroom:

At 9:15 Friday, September 17, just seven school days after the school year began, 27 fourth graders, teacher Marian, and ample chaperones headed out of Salmon Bay School on a mission. We were not going on any ordinary field trip. We were toting red wagons loaded with our temporary park features to erect a park on Park(ing) Day in our reserved parking spots in front of Ballard Public Library. In our red wagons we carried native plants (6 large snowberry bushes, 10 salal plants, 10 evergreen huckleberry plants) on loan from our favorite, friendly local nursery: Swanson's Nursery. Thanks Swanson's! We had turf rolls, a good investment to reuse for future temporary parks and plays. We had a fish bowl "pond" with real guppies that students were in charge of planning and caring for; though we had some close calls with maintaining a healthy habitat for the fish on their transport via the bumpy wagon train, they all survived!

We brought our dream neighborhood maps to share our neighborhood dreams with the public, as well as demonstrate our mathematical skills using ordered pairs on coordinate grids used to map our neighborhoods. Students also brought their written and prepared speeches about what we were doing to share with curious passers-by and the class of 3rd graders from our school that took a field trip to visit our park. For our recreational use of our park, we brought origami materials, chess, and math games. Half of the class recreated and educated people about our park, while the other half was taken on a tour of Ballard Public Library to learn about green features of the library, and then groups rotated, and afterwards we all lunched in our park as a group of students performed a reader's theater play. Yay for street theater!!! And when it was time to leave, we picked up our park to the tune of musician-parent extraordinaire Jen Busch playing "This Land is Your Land" on traveling guitar, and we left two parking spots where our park once was.

It's great to see such a fantastic park being organized by a smart group of kids and their wonderful teachers and chaperones. I look forward to seeing what the future holds for these amazing young citizens.

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