Distance learning due to COVID-19 couldn’t get in the way of this year’s fifth grade class contribution to the annual “Peace Path” project for the EMES playground, a sizable structure perfect for climbing outside and imaginative play inside. The “Peace Path” includes structures for outdoor play made by fifth grade groups over the past several years as a culminating year-end activity.
Cooperative design of the “fort” — its current name, but up for discussion — took place in the final six weeks of school under the leadership of peacebuilding teacher, Gini Trotter. “Students are still deliberating on whether ‘fort’ is the right word,” she said, noting that “yurt” and “gazebo” have been discussed as well.
Tyler Kauffman, EMS dad and facilities maintenance coordinator, and Dexter Beyer, groundskeeper and transportation coordinator, designed and constructed the project with help from Kendal Bauman, EMS dad and EMES PE teacher, pictured above. Volunteers contributed 108 hours of time on the project. See a time lapse video of the construction.
Cedar lumber for the project’s roof was donated by Willow Run Custom Lumber, Inc., a nearby mill. Planks came from salvaged lumber that had been donated for the bridge, which was built to connect the upper and lower campus buildings.
The fifth grade students — now rising sixth graders — sign up two at a time to help work on the project with parent helpers and physical distancing in practice.
A cooperative group project which results in something the whole school can enjoy is part of 5th grade peacebuilding curriculum each year.