Hundred Acres School Celebrates Expansion

Filed Under: Non Profit News

The Hundred Acre School, the pre-K through Grade 1 STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) school at Heritage Museums & Gardens in Sandwich, celebrated its new expansion with a ribbon-cutting ceremony including trustees, donors and community leaders on Wednesday, Aug. 25.

100 Acre School Ribbon Cutting
From left, Tad Shultz, Heritage Client Representative; state Rep. Steven Xiahros; state Sen. Susan Moran; Chris Richards, chair, Heritage Museums & Gardens Board of Trustees; Melissa Russell, director, The Hundred Acre School; Massachusetts Department of Early Childhood Education and Care Commissioner Samantha Aigner-Treworgy; Sandwich Selectman Charles Holden; Anne Scott-Putney, president & CEO, Heritage Museums & Gardens.
Hundred Acre School
The new front entrance of the Hundred Acres School.

The renovation of existing space was completed this month, increasing the 2,000-square-foot facility by 4,700 square feet. The wing of the building formerly housing The Heritage Collection exhibit was remodeled to contain two new classrooms, offices and amenities. A secure connecting hallway linking the two wings of the building made the expanded school building complete. The Looff Carousel, at the center of the building, opened to museum visitors on Aug. 26. Gallery space adjacent to the carousel will feature selections from Heritage’s permanent collection.

The Hundred Acre School now boasts five classrooms that will serve nearly 80 pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, and first grade students this school year, doubling the number of students served. During school vacations, Heritage Museums & Gardens will offer weekly public programs for children ages 4 to 8, serving approximately 450 students per year. Second grade will be added in the fall of 2022, allowing Hundred Acre School students who plan to attend Sandwich Public Schools to transition to Grade 3 at the Oak Ridge school with their peers.

The Hundred Acre School also added a 9,000-square-foot natural playground located between the two wings of the school. The play area includes a climbing structure with slides, water and sand play areas, building area, ball and ramp physics stations, raised vegetable and herb gardens, a rain garden, an outdoor classroom space, and an amphitheater. Students spend an average of three hours per day outdoors in all seasons. Outdoor time includes playing in this area, enjoying Hidden Hollow, Heritage’s two-acre outdoor discovery space, or exploring 100 acres of gardens and nature areas.

Now in its eighth year, the mission of The Hundred Acre School is to teach children to wonder, play, question, explore, discover and learn together while developing the habits that assure superior success in school and beyond as engaged and productive citizens. The Hundred Acre School engages students in active learning using Heritage’s museum collections, physical facilities and 100-acre grounds. Vital to the school’s success is the use of the scientific method and design thinking to guide exploration and discovery.

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