There is a new special place on campus and thanks to the Parent’s Auxiliary and SMS, the Early Learning/Junior Kindergarten students have a beautiful new play area where they can grow and thrive.

An upgraded playground was unveiled that includes a new fence, a new handcrafted playhouse, a row boat, a garden featuring edible plants, as well as vegetables for harvest, and an apple tree.

“Both of my daughters started at SMS in JK3 and I’ve always had a keen appreciation and respect for the work that Susan Middlemiss, Early Childhood Educator, and her team do daily. In looking at their playground, it was apparent that an upgrade was overdue. The children were playing in an environment that was largely devoid of natural structures,” said Bernard Tonks, SMS parent and Board member.

“With the emphasis on OWL in the ECE and JK programs, I thought that incorporating more natural elements into the area would work well. I’m also an avid gardener and so there was some bias on my behalf to see some garden components that the children could engage with,” he said.

SMS is an exciting and dynamic school which is reflected in the “Creating Special Places” initiative that Head of School, Cathy Thornicroft initiated in 2011. As a special “thank you” to Cathy’s dedication to the school and to this project, the tea garden was named in her honour with a sign that reads “Cathy T’eas Garden.”

“The idea was to create a new whimsical space that allows the students to learn to garden with a farm to table approach. We hope to make teas from the plants in the future, and thought it was very fitting to dedicate the garden in Cathy T’s name,” said Foundation Years Principal, Mary Lue Emmerson.

For Cathy, who lead the “official opening” of the playground, the grand reveal was a memorable one.

“The highlight for me was the recognition of Cathy T’eas Garden–a beautifully carved piece of driftwood immersed in the middle of the garden.  A totally humbling experience with much gratitude for those who contributed to this project and knowing that this space will provide joy for our youngest learners for years to come,” said Head of School, Cathy Thornicroft.

The project could not have been completed without the financial support of the Parent Auxiliary and SMS.

The stunning design was put together by Mustang Landscape in collaboration with the SMS landscape team. The emphasis on continuity and connection is apparent in this project and many people had a hand in bringing this special place to life with scrupulous attention to small yet important details.

“I hope that the children can truly benefit from the richer environment as they explore, create and learn,” said Tonks