Paul Habans Charter School celebrated the opening of their new playground with a ribbon cutting ceremony featuring many of their youngest scholars, student designers, and their new jazz band. Community partners, families, and friends attended the event and joined in the fun. Young scholars from Mr. Id-Deen’s PreK class gave a special performance expressing everything they love about the playground built just to their size.
Habans serves children from PreK-8th grade, and while the state-of -the-art school got a new playground in 2017, it was a little too challenging for the smallest scholars. Following a previous design model, where Habans scholars contributed to the design of the “big” playground, they set out to build the perfect play space for their younger schoolmates and neighborhood youth.
Tommy DeCarlo, a Habans 5th grade Science and Social Studies teacher, serves as the advisor for the project and shared, “The goal was to design a playground that was fun for our little students, and we were able to nurture our students’ passions for building and design.” Dallas, one of the young designers, addressed the audience and expressed that it had been a very important experience for him to be part of designing the project. The new playground includes soft substrate, climbing structures, a tricycle lane, an outdoor kitchen, and tree stump landscaping.
Elisabeth LaMotte-Mitchell, Principal at Habans, is committed to providing opportunities for her students to thrive as well as providing resources for the school’s Algiers neighbors. “As a community school we welcome all neighborhood families to use our play spaces in the evenings and weekends; the play space is for the entire New Orleans community,” said LaMotte-Mitchell. “We are thrilled to share our playground for four and five-year-olds with the community. We know that outdoor play is critical for young children exploring and developing gross motor skills.”
Completion of the playground is one step in a multi-phase Master Plan to develop the five acres of Habans land with outdoor learning, playing, and athletic facilities. Habans is designated to be the recipient of a grant from the New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board to construct an Educational Stormwater Center that, when completed, will be an outdoor classroom for Habans and other students from the community to learn about water retention, wetlands, and water conservation.