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Big Future Update - January

Friday, January 17, 2020

Construction Updates

How was construction progress over December Break? Great! Bayley had people on site working tirelessly to complete work on the existing buildings and on the main site. Here are some updates. 

Meadows, Woods and Cedars Buildings: “You made the classroom all new!” exclaimed one of our Meadows students. “I love the new bathrooms!” confided one of our Woods students. Over Winter Break, new cabinets, wallpaper and countertops were installed. The deep grey counters and wood cabinetry give each classroom warmth and needed storage. The Woods and Cedars restrooms are also complete. Floor to ceiling partitions, new lighting and ventilation and new fixtures give these spaces a much-needed update.  

On the site: Over the break, the Turnaround was a labyrinth of utility trenches so that our new sewer, water, storm and electrical lines can be connected to the city’s systems. With the connection of the new lines will come the demolition of the existing ones and the start of foundation work. Keep an eye on the building site and the Big Future website in the coming weeks as earth work continues and footings are placed.  

Building Big Futures Together

Have you made your gift to help build big future? We've now raised more than $3.4 million for the Campaign for a Big Future, and we couldn't be more grateful!

Funds raised for the Campaign for a Big Future support the refurbishments that have already been done on our Meadows, Woods and Cedars buildings. These spaces are brighter and invite increased collaboration between classrooms, while still retaining their Little School charm. Contributions will also provide for the new multipurpose building, which will allow us to gather and celebrate in more ways than have been possible before, truly honoring our school's commitment to community. 

The building is happening now, and now is the perfect time to make your gift to the Campaign for a Big Future. A limited number of matches remain at the $25,000 level. And for our alumni community, you still have the opportunity to get in on matches for gifts of $5,000.

Becky Dolan is more than happy to help you implement a plan of support for the Campaign for a Big Future that is easy and meaningful for you. Just reach out to Becky at or 425-827-4609 ext. 106 to start the conversation. If you're ready to make your gift now, you can give online or download a pledge form and return it to Becky in the Admin Building. 

Thank you!

Trucks! Trucks! Trucks!

Make plans to join us on Saturday, February 8 from 10 a.m.-noon for the Big Future Truck Event. Our friends at Bayley Construction will be here with a number of construction vehicles, so you can get up close and learn about the equipment that is making big moves on our campus. We'll also be on hand to answer your construction and campaign questions, accept your gift to the Campaign for a Big Future or help you structure a gift that is both accessible and meaningful to you. More details are coming soon, so stay tuned!

Playground Project

Inspired by the work happening on our campus, students in Amanda and Michele’s 2/3 classes spent the fall learning about playground design. They began an examination of our own play spaces around campus. This work began with observations of the overall design and layout, mapping our playgrounds and creating scaled drawings. Discussions were had about the idea that our play spaces were designed for different kinds of play – solitary, social, active, creative and sensory – stemming from conversation about the many reasons that we have playgrounds and the need to have inclusive play spaces. Of course, safety is of key importance, so the students also talked about safe fall zones and playground surfaces.

After interviewing the students in Alison and Cindy S’s first grade classes and Heidi and Katie’s 4/5 class, it was time for a field trip. Amanda and Michele took their students to the Artists at Play Playground at Seattle Center. The students met with someone who was involved with the planning commission about how the variety of spaces at the Artists at Play Playground came to be, learning that it was designed by a team of local artists, including a metal smith, musician, landscape designer and visual artist. Of course, it was important to test the play area to ensure it was indeed fun and safe.

Back at school, the students began designing their own ideal play spaces, many inspired by the conversations with others/observation of interesting playgrounds. They worked in partners or alone to draft spaces they would like to build, paying special attention to creating a diversity of spaces. Some even chose a theme, such as dragons, dinosaurs or nature. Blueprints were drawn for their playground models and material lists were drafted. Students brought in lots recyclable materials to create their playground models.  They worked incredibly hard and patiently, some working over many class periods on a single structure. They demonstrated resilience when things didn’t go their way – sometimes structures fell apart or didn’t work the way they wanted. Some structures went missing, and kids had to rebuild from scratch. Throughout it all they were incredibly helpful and supportive of one another, offering ideas on how to improve, sharing strategies, helping each other rebuild or simply giving feedback like, “I think you need a different surface under your climber. It won’t be safe if someone falls and hits the rocks! It should be soft like grass or wood chips.” They also had to work to build their models to scale, trying to create spaces for a 1-inch tall person – with varying success.

The students in Amanda and Michele’s classes are incredibly creative and artistic, and their models turned out beautifully. The final element of the project was to write a flyer advertising their playgrounds to the community (e.g., “Did you know ... there’s a new playground in town!”) and to share their playground designs with visiting classes. They were very proud of their hard work and the final product. It was an impressive example an emergent, project-based learning opportunity with amazing results.

To see more pictures from this project, go to


Big Future Website

Take a look at the Campaign for a Big Future website! You'll learn more about what this project will do for our students and the future of The Little School, see pictures and a time lapse video of the construction project, make a gift and so much more. There's a lot to see, so take some time to look around to get a peek at what's to come as we build big futures together.