The San Francisco Shared Schoolyard Project kick-off celebration at Glen Park School on December 12 didn’t disappoint, as over 200 students, parents, teachers and neighbors gathered to celebrate the opening of the school playground on weekends and partake in a wide array of fun activities. Whether it was painting the school’s new mural, grabbing tasty tacos, cutting the celebratory ribbon, attendees enjoyed the beautiful winter day.
Like other opening events, the Glen Park kick-off attracted several local and city-wide organizations including Little Artistas, Education Outside, YMCA, Kindergarten to College, SF Bike Coalition, PG&E, Tandem, and the Glen Park branch of the SF Public Library. As area residents filtered onto the schoolyard they had the opportunity to ride bikes, dig in the gardens, listen to a reading, and more.
After a welcome by Glen Park School Principal Jean Robertson, attendees joined project leader and District 2 Supervisor Mark Farrell in a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Farrell shared the motivations behind the start of the project and explained the benefits of having a safe, fun place for neighborhood families to gather on weekends. District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener and police Captain Joseph McFadden also took part in the ceremony.
While the Glen Park event was the last of 2015, the Shared Schoolyard Project will continue its opening events in 2016 starting at Junipero Serra Elementary School on January 16.
Over 200 enthusiastic neighbors, parents, and children gathered at the Claire Lilienthal schoolyard on Saturday, December 5 to mark the opening of the space for the public to use on weekends. One of the first schoolyards enrolled in the program, the Claire Lilienthal playground has been open for several years, with the event highlighting its benefits to the surrounding community.
Attendees were entertained by a variety of activities ranging from bike riding lessons, woodworking, cooking demos, nature and garden explorations, and library services from the San Francisco Public Library’s green “Bookmobile.” The fire and police departments were also present, and gave the crowd a look into the work they do around the city.
After a warm welcome from Claire Lilienthal School Principal Tyler Graff, attendees joined project leader and District 2 Supervisor Mark Farrell in a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Farrell jumpstarted the effort in 2012 when he and his children were greeted with a locked gate at their neighborhood playground. Since then the Shared Schoolyard Project has enrolled 28 schools with its sights set on 80 in the next two years. Farrell was joined onstage by District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener and School Board Commissioner and Senior Advisor to the Mayor Hydra Mendoza.
The San Francisco Shared Schoolyard Project has one additional opening before beginning its 2016 program. Join the the celebration at Glen Park Elementary School on Saturday, December 12 from 11am to 1pm.
Cole Valley residents gathered at the Grattan Elementary schoolyard Saturday, November 7 for the grand reopening of the school’s playground on weekends. While the yard was opened by the San Francisco Shared Schoolyard Project roughly a year and a half ago, the celebration served as a way to inform neighbors of the new community resource.
Joining the crowd of families were various community partners such as the local toy store Tantrum, American Heart Association, Booker T. Washington Service Center, Midline gym, Tandem Readers, Boys & Girls Club, and the San Francisco Police and Fire Departments. While attendees enjoyed the engaging activities, they were treated to tasty tacos and horchata from the popular El Taquero.
Halfway through the festivities project leader and District 2 Supervisor Mark Farrell -- joined by Grattan Elementary Principal Matthew Reedy, Supervisor Board President London Breed, and School Board Commissioner and Special Advisor to the Mayor Hydra Mendoza -- cut the ribbon to mark the opening of the schoolyard on weekends. Reedy welcomed the crowd with a poem about the benefits of the open schoolyard written by Grattan students.
The Shared Schoolyard Project is continuing its exciting series of opening events. After a string of successful celebrations, the project’s next stop is Claire Lilienthal Elementary School on December 5.
Families at Grattan Elementary School enjoy having their school playground open on weekends. Many of the students use the yard regularly on weekends, and appreciate it so much they wrote a poem about it. Check it out, and join us at Grattan this Saturday, November 7, at 11 am.
We're Opening Our Yard Today
We're opening our yard today; Let's go down for fun and play.
Get a ball, catch and throw.
Grab a rope and skip a few.
Hit the bars and grab and pull.
Take a hoop and twirl and swirl.
Get some chalk and scribble and scrabble.
Climb the stairs, slip and slide till you're at the bottom of the ride.
The whistle blows, we pause the fun, now it's time to get work done.
Halloween was more than trick-or-treating and pumpkin carving for the residents of the Richmond District this fall, as the holiday marked the grand reopening of the Argonne Elementary schoolyard. Hosted by the San Francisco Shared Schoolyard Project, the Halloween Festival served a fun, holiday-themed community event that provided educational and neighborhood-building opportunities.
Over 400 attendees scattered the yard to partake in activities ranging from pumpkin painting to violin playing to mask making. A rock wall and disc golf course provided by Recreation and Parks department was a highlight for many attendees, while the Public Library’s ‘Bookmobile’ saw nearly 300 children filter through the bus that contained free books and other library resources.
The large crowd of teachers, parents, children, and neighbors gathered as Argonne Principal Cami Okubo called to her students with the school’s wolfpack cheer. She was followed with a moving speech by Supervisor Mark Farrell, who has spearheaded the Shared Schoolyard Project since 2012. Also speaking were Supervisor Eric Mar, School Board Commissioner Sandra Fewer, and School Board Commissioner and Senior Advisor to the Mayor Hydra Mendoza.
The San Francisco Shared Schoolyard Project will continue to celebrate open schoolyards around the city with its November 7 event at Grattan Elementary School from 11 am to 1 pm. RSVP here.
The San Francisco Shared Schoolyard Project and its upcoming grand reopening event at Grattan Elementary School were featured in a recent article on Hoodline.com. Grattan Elementary is one of 28 schools currently enrolled in the program, and has seen the many community and school benefits since it joined a year and a half ago.
"It unifies the community outside of teaching and learning, which makes for a more holistic approach," Grattan Principal Matthew Reedy told Hoodline.com.
Read more here.
Every year Argonne Elementary School hosts a Spring Fair to bring the school community together. In 2015 the San Francisco Shared Schoolyard Project leant a helping hand with its activities fund, available to every participating school in the program.
With the help of the Shared Schoolyard Project, Argonne Elementary was able to provide a jumbo slide, sports complex, bounce house, and a petting zoo. With the remaining funds, the school’s student council members purchased prizes for event attendees.
“The Spring Carnival is one of our largest community events. Students look forward to this time playing and connecting with peers,” Argonne Principal Cami Okubo said. “Having engaging student activities ensures that our students and community will continue to participate in this joyful event. We are grateful for the support [from the Shared Schoolyard Project.]”
Funding for school events like the Spring Fair is one of many benefits of the Shared Schoolyard Project, which works to provide a fun, safe place for families to play and gather within walking distance of every child in San Francisco. The activity fund, along with the stipend for each participating school’s parent organization, is meant to connect San Francisco communities with their neighborhood schools.
Students and neighbors of Argonne Elementary School won’t have to wait until next spring for a chance to celebrate on the schoolyard. On Saturday October 31, the Shared Schoolyard Project will host a Halloween Festival to celebrate the playground’s opening. The event, which takes place from 11am to 2pm, will have a free lunch, climbing wall, bounce house, spooky obstacle course, bicycling, pumpkin painting, and many other Halloween activities.
When Mark and Mandy Bourbin arrived at the Commodore Sloat Elementary School playground Saturday, October 3 with their two children in tow, they were greeted with a familiar scene. The family of four traveled from their home in Midtown Terrace to celebrate the grand re-opening of the schoolyard on weekends -- something they had done at Francis Scott Key Elementary School a month prior.
Both events -- which are part of the San Francisco Shared Schoolyard Project and its effort to provide fun, safe spaces for families across the city -- were initially attractive to the Bourbins because they support open spaces, but after two celebrations they also found the gatherings to be a great place to meet like-minded parents.
“We go to public school and we like the idea of supporting neighborhood and community events. We figured why not come out and join the community?” Mark Bourbin said of his family's attendance at the two events.
The Bourbins support the work the Shared Schoolyard Project has accomplished under the leadership of Supervisor Mark Farrell because it gives families like theirs more options and better facilities.
“[The Shared Schoolyard Project] gives kids more places to go,” Bourbin said. “It’s nice to come to a place where there are such nice structures and a lot of open area for the kids to run around. It’s also a great place for the community; you come out and meet other parents and be a part of it.”
The Bourbins were part of a large contingent of community members who helped Supervisor Farrell, Supervisor Norman Yee, and School Board Commissioner Jill Wynns cut the ribbon to open the Commodore Sloat schoolyard on weekends. They were joined by community organizations such as the Stonestown Family YMCA, American Heart Association, and the West Portal Branch Library.
The San Francisco Shared Schoolyard Project will continue celebrating open playgrounds at Spring Valley Elementary School on Saturday, October 17 from 11 am to 1 pm.
San Francisco Shared Schoolyard Project was recently featured in the San Francisco Chronicle -- a sign that the project is gaining momentum as it progresses towards its goal of opening 80 schoolyards to the public on weekends. The article detailed the origins of the effort, and how Supervisor Mark Farrell revamped the project so that every child and family in San Francisco will have a fun, safe space within walking distance.
"[Schoolyards] are simply great neighborhood resources, and we're unleashing their potential for families and kids in the neighborhood," Farrell told the Chronicle. "This is about the quality of life for San Francisco families."
Read more here.
As the Shared Schoolyard Project continues to open playgrounds to the public, we spoke with San Francisco residents to see why they support the effort. From District 2 Supervisor Mark Farrell -- who revamped the project in 2012 and is working to expand it to 80 schools -- to parents, principals and school board members, it's clear San Francisco wants safe, fun places in walking distance of every child.
Check out the videos below to learn more about the Shared Schoolyard Project and why parents and principals support open playgrounds.