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Fundraiser to benefit outdoor classroom

The Riverhead Country Day School raised about $3,000

The Riverhead Country Day School raised about $3,000 to build the first half of its outdoor classroom in the spring by holding a community yard sale. With plans to expand the classroom, the school will hold a second yard sale on Saturday to raise additional funds. Photo Credit: Handout

Last year, staff members at the Riverhead Country Day School made a dangerous move for those charged with entertaining children - they removed the plastic castle from the playground. Next went the giant plastic toys, then the roaming plastic trucks.

The children were understandably concerned, said Teresa Bello, assistant director at the school.

“‘Whoa, where did our playground go?’” she said the children would ask.

But soon after the plastic disappeared came the first elements of a brand new playground, one built with natural elements and designed to foster interdisciplinary learning.

The school’s “Outdoor Classroom” is currently made up of eight stations, including a natural hill, a grass area, a music stage, a digging pit made of wood chips and logs that the students can sit or walk on, and a slate patio used for art and science projects.

The school raised about $3,000 to build the first half of the classroom in the spring by holding a community yard sale. With plans to expand the classroom, the school will hold a second yard sale on Saturday to raise additional funds.

The yard sale is scheduled to take place from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. rain or shine at the Country Day School at 165 Columbus Ave. in Riverhead. Merchandise will include baby items, house decor, VHS tapes and holiday decorations.

Bello said the children love the new facility, which also includes vegetable and herb gardens, and get excited when the growing classroom gets a new station or something blooms.

“We’re really trying to show kids there are other things besides listening to an iPod in solitude and playing video games with a box,” she said. “There’s so much you can learn and discover on your own here.”

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