About the Project

The Need

Enrollment in the Milton public elementary schools is soaring, with the size of the student population predicted to increase by 34% over the next ten years. Nowhere has this growth been felt more acutely than in the schoolyard shared by the Cunningham and Collicot elementary schools. More than half of all public elementary school students in the town of Milton attend either Cunningham or Collicot, yet the schools' outdoor recess facilities are limited to a small play structure and adjacent asphalt courtyard. Despite staggered recess and lunch periods, as many as 250 students attend recess at the same time. In these overcrowded conditions, students have few opportunities to engage in active play.

The Solution

The goal of the C+C Green Space Project is to build a recreational green space that will promote the health and safety of more than 1,300 preschool and elementary school students in our community. The green space will be constructed on approximately one half acre of underutilized school property, located behind the schools. The green space will be comprised of an active zone with a safe, accessible play surface and a quiet zone with tree cover and natural shade. In addition to alleviating overcrowding, this project will provide Cunningham and Collicot students with increased opportunities for experiential learning, unstructured play, physical activity, and appreciation for the natural environment.

Click here to view the proposed design.

The Impact

The effects of recess overcrowding extend well beyond the recess period. Recess overcrowding has a negative impact on health, safety, and learning. Over the 2018-2019 school year, the Cunningham and Collicot school nurses logged an astounding combined average of seven recess-related injuries per day. Research suggests outdoor play and outdoor learning are associated with positive effects on classroom engagement, social development, academic achievement, and behavioral outcomes. Moreover, a crowded, chaotic recess environment may be distressing for some students.

Next Steps

Our goal is to raise $275,000 through grants and private donations to cover the costs associated with creating the green space. Any funds raised in excess of costs will be set aside for future maintenance and educational enhancements. If we achieve our fundraising goal in the spring of 2020, we anticipate that the green space will be completed in time for the 2020-2021 school year. We are asking the entire community to engage in this effort, which will benefit current and future students for years to come.

Click here to learn how to support this project.