After two years of waiting, Achievements and Kids Express Learning Center at Maplewood School opened a new playground, complete with a rock-climbing wall, teeter totter and balance beam.
About two years ago, it was determined that the playground at Maplewood, already old and worn, was not developmentally appropriate for Achievements and Kids Express students. Early this year, the center received a universal pre-kindergarten grant that allowed them to purchase a new playground. The playground officially opened Thursday, May 14.
Maplewood, located in Watervliet, is officially owned by the North Colonie Central School District, but Achievements, a program for children with special education needs, and Kids Express, an early childhood learning center, leases the space.
Construction on the new playground began about a month and a half ago. Megan DiNovo with the Learning Center, said that the kids had been watching the process eagerly and kept asking if they could play yet.
After weeks of waiting, the playground officially opened with a ribbon cutting ceremony, done by two students, that was attended by school officials. “After they cut the ribbon, it was a mass exodus to the playground. Seeing the children ‘storm the gate’ was so exciting, and really made it worth the wait,” said DiNovo.
With homemade vanilla ice cream donated by Mac’s Drive-In and a book fair, the kids tested out the equipment for the first time. The new playground includes swings for various ages, a balance beam, rock-climbing wall, circle cycle and four-seat teeter-totter.