New natural play area a hit with students at Amity Creek in Bend

Courtesy Bend-La Pine Schools
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When recess starts at Amity Creek Magnet at Thompson School, the school’s new nature play area is immediately busy with all sorts of activity.

Students play tag along the back of large sugar pines, jump from boulder to boulder and practice balance skills as they walk across a skinny aspen log.

The new popular play area was finalized in late November and features several intersecting logs held into place with massive rocks.

Principal Andy Slavin came up with the idea last winter when Amity students and staff moved to a wing at North Star Elementary School while the more than 70-year-old Amity building underwent its first major modernization as part of the 2017 construction bond.

North Star has a nature play area in its playground and Slavin says students were drawn to the space.

“After that experience, I really wanted to bring a similar play feature to Amity. I set my mind to recreating it and slowly, thanks to some incredible folks, we were able to put everything in place,” said Slavin. “The natural element attracts children because it feels organic. It brings something different out in children. The minute the logs were in place, the kids wanted to be on them.”

Slavin made sure to work with Bend-La Pine Schools’ outside services team to make sure the new playground was secure for students.

“I love it. I like to play tag here and jump on the rocks. It’s really cool it comes from nature,” said third-grader Marlow.

Fifth-grader Jasper says that it’s a place that appeals to all grades – from kindergartners to fifth-graders. “All the grades love it. It’s really cool that it’s made with nature and it fits great with Amity.”

Slavin says the project was made possible thanks to community partnerships.

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