Building a Brighter Future

Recent renovations create new learning space for Little Patriots Day School in East Building


Lily Jiang

Brand new furniture is showcased in the newly refurbished Little Patriots Room. Stevenson’s primary goal was to create a better environment for the children.

Walking down the 6000s hallway, students can look through four large circular windows that capture scenes of imaginative play, storytelling teachers, and the nostalgic feeling of early childhood. Inside this room lies the work of recent renovations that have completely changed the Little Patriots Day School.

While the old Day School was two high school classrooms converted for early childhood students, the new room was architecturally designed with the younger children in mind. Designers had to consider all aspects of how children use space and learn effectively.

Eileen Schopen, the Little Pats coordinator, along with the Teaching Young Children (TYC) team, worked with architects last spring to conceive the designs. Construction occurred this summer after approval from the graphic, industrial and landscape designers.

“Our most important goal was to add features that were both welcoming and to send a message to the children that this is their space.” Schopen said.

In coordination with the TYC students who lead outdoor classroom activities like teaching math, science and sensory and group games out in the playground, a big part of the renovations happened outside.

“We also envisioned the classroom to be all one space, and that there would be an indoor classroom and an outdoor classroom,” Schopen said. “[Another primary goal was] to bring the nature in and the indoors out and for the children to truly feel the natural environment.”

Rather than primary plastics, the selection of materials on the playground are closely related to nature. Wooden materials, greenery and rocks were all used. The layout of the playground incorporated areas for different kinds of play as well, such as a grassy area for running, a play stage, a tree house themed play set and an outdoor art corner.

“The playground is fun and developmentally appropriate,”  said Janet Rothwell, mother to a Little Patriot. “Everyday my son talks about what he did on the playground, it’s a daily thing in our routine. He’ll describe whether he rode the tricycle, or the toy cars or how he ran around the trees.”

In addition to more prominent attributes of the renovations, smaller characteristics  like a water pump and easels for painting or chalk writing were also added.

“Ultimately, I think our students have really enjoyed the updated space,” TYC instructor Jamie Reiman said. “We have utilized it to plan so many unique activities for the Little Patriots.”