vote for play awardees!
We thank you for voting in our latest Vote for Play program!
We have awarded Imagination Playgrounds to educators and parents that value the creative play offered by Imagination Playground blocks. Over 30,000 schools and organizations have entered our Vote contest in the past. As an extension of our mission in 2016, we want to help!
Read all about our latest recipient and past awardees below. We are excited to share the awardee for our latest Vote for Play session! Please stay tuned to this page for further updates and announcements for new Vote sessions to begin!
Kokomo-Howard County Public Library is the Latest Recipient of the Vote for Play Award!
Kokomo-Howard County Public Library, Kokomo, Indiana is the latest recipient of an Imagination Playground and Play Associate training (valued at $7500) in our Vote for Play program! KHCPL is the first library ever to receive the Vote for Play award, offered by Imagination Playground several times each year to the school or family center that receives the most community votes. They join a growing population of libraries now offering creative play with Imagination Playground, as more and more incorporate hands-on, STEM, and makerspace activities into their scheduling.
Lisa Fipps, Director of Marketing and Community Engagement Kokomo-Howard County Public Library shared the following:
"When we got the call that we’d won, our staff was literally squealing, shouting for joy, dancing, and jumping up and down – not everyday occurrences in a library. When we saw the contest, we immediately entered. We love that it has loose parts that encourage children to create a play space of their own. As a town with a lot of union workers, we were thrilled to find out that the product is made in the USA. Since we recycle and just finished a yearlong project to educate the community about the importance of saving pollinators, we care about the environment, so it’s was a big plus for us to see that the product is biodegradable and recyclable once it has served our patrons for many years.”
Finn Academy is a Recipient of the Vote for Play Award!
Finn Academy, an Elmira, NY Charter School is the latest recipient of an Imagination Playground and Play Associate training (valued at $7500) in our Vote for Play program! This K-3 school with 316 students has just celebrated their one year anniversary and to date have no existing playground equipment.
This new charter school has a dedicated parent "crew" that decided that needed to change and set out to campaign in their community for an Imagination Playground.
Katie Goetz, Parent and Finn Family Crew Secretary shared the following:
"The members of Finn Academy’s Finn Family Crew are honored to be awarded with an Imagination Playground! We are a school that focuses on scholar-driven learning and creative expression and we feel that the Imagination Playground is a fantastic tool to encourage scholars to learn, explore, and create while also promoting physical activity. It was obvious to our educators, parents, and community members that the Imagination Playground would provide the ideal combination of hands-on learning and creative play to meet the needs of our school. We would like to thank all of those who thoughtfully took the time to vote for Finn Academy; we could not have done it without your dedication and support! This is our first year as a brand new Charter school and our families have gone above and beyond in supporting Finn in so many ways and this contest is just one more example. They truly epitomize our school saying “We are crew, not passengers.” We would also like to thank Imagination Playground for this exciting opportunity and our scholars will look forward to many years of learning and playing with this amazing equipment.”
River Oaks Elementary School is a Recipient of the Vote for Play Award!
River Oaks Elementary School in Gulfport, MS is the latest recipient of an Imagination Playground and Play Associate training (valued at $7500) in our Vote for Play program! This K-6 school with 664 students was opened in August of 2014 without any existing playground equipment. The school is 92% free/reduced lunch with over 80 ELL students school wide.
Dr. Shelley Simmons, the school’s principal, took the lead on securing votes through daily emails and text messages through their REMIND program to parents. Teachers in both the school and the Harrison County School District posted and shared it on Facebook. Their efforts and community involvement were rewarded with the announcement that they had succeeded in gaining the most votes.
Dr. Simmons shared the following upon hearing the news of their win:
“We would like to express our sincerest gratitude to everyone who voted for our school to receive the Imagination Playground. We believe in developing the “whole child” and this was the missing piece of the puzzle. We have researched non-traditional and creative ways for our students to play that would stimulate their minds while encouraging physical activity through collaboration and problem-solving. The Imagination Playground is just what we needed to motivate critical thinkers. Thanks to the support of our school district through email, Facebook and REMIND, we were able to make imaginative play a reality for our students. Thank you, Imagination Playground!”
Dr. Shelley Simmons, Principal, River Oaks Elementary School
Woodmere Elementary School is a recipient of the Vote for Play Award!
Woodmere Elementary School in Portland, OR is the latest recipient of an Imagination Playground and Play Associate training (valued at $7500) in our Vote for Play program! This K-5 elementary school serves a diverse group of students where, on any given day, over 18 different languages can be heard in the hallways. With over 85% of the students receiving free/reduced lunches, the school was unable to bring the blocks to the children they serve. That’s when several teachers and the Parent Group stepped in!
Rene Canler, Principal, credits the Parent Group and singled out Kindergarten Teacher, Graham Andanen with getting the campaign rolling—through Facebook posts, hallway posters, and newsletter communications. And the community responded! With over 9,000 votes, Woodmere achieved their goal to bring the creative play of Imagination Playground to their students.
“ We are a community that believes. We believe our differences; our multi-language, multi-cultural traits are a benefit and through these differences, we have been able to connect. There is no doubt, it is our students, their parents, the community we serve, our teachers and staff, and our commitment to one another that create the Wonderful World of Woodmere. We thank Imagination Playground for helping us achieve another one of our goals.”
Rene Canler, Principal, Woodmere Elementary School
Auburn Early Education Center is a Recipient of the Vote for Play Award!
Auburn Early Education Center in Auburn, AL, is the newest recipient of an Imagination Playground and Play Associate Training (valued at over $7500) in the Vote for Play program. The K-2 public School partnered with their students’ parents and community to garner the most votes in the Imagination Playground Vote for Play program, more than any of the other thousands of schools and organizations across the United States that participated.
Auburn Early Education Center (AEEC) is a public Title 1 school that serves primary students (K-2) who live in Auburn, Alabama. The facility is divided into five pods, housing 29 classrooms. Their mission is to guarantee that all students have a heart for learning and knowledge; nurturing and serving others; investing in their world; and being resourceful with their talents, gifts and abilities. Parental involvement and community support contributed to the success of the drive to bring an Imagination Playground to the school, which has a play space already designated for the Big Blue Blocks!
“Auburn Early Education Center (AEEC) is thrilled and filled with gratitude to learn that we are the recipients of an Imagination Playground! Our students will now have the opportunity to build and work cooperatively in ways that extend the type of creative expression we strive to develop in the classroom. We also want to thank the AEEC PTO and the Auburn community. Working together, we rallied our votes through Facebook, the school marquee, email, and school newsletters. Thank you Imagination Playground!!!!"
Dr. Shelley Aistrup, Principal, Auburn Early Education Center (AEEC)
Downing Street Playgroup is a Recipient of the VOTE for Play Imagination Playground Award!
Downing Street Playgroup in New York, NY is the newest recipient of an Imagination Playground and Play Associate Training (valued at over $7500)! The cooperative preschool for 2-4 year olds, partnered with their center families and community to garner the most votes in the Imagination Playground VOTE for Play program, more than any of the other thousands of schools and organizations across the United States that participated.
Founded in 1969, the Downing Street Playgroup is a cooperative preschool located in NYC’s West Village. They believe education should be a partnership between families and educators, so they are always looking for ways for their families to be involved. That family involvement served them well as they led a campaign to bring the Imagination Playground blocks to the children in the cooperative.
“We feel incredibly fortunate to have an outstanding network of families, both past and present. We challenged our families to “Get your 20” votes by rallying friends, family members and coworkers on a daily basis. We are so happy our community was empowered by this common goal and we know the Imagination Playground blocks will make a huge impact on our children’s learning at Downing Street Playgroup for many years to come”, shared Gloria Chew, parent coordinator at Downing Street Playgroup.
“We are overjoyed with gratitude, joy, and excitement at the thought of the endless creations and ideas the children will generate “working” with their Imagination Playground blocks!"
Nancy McAuliffe, Director of Downing Street Playgroup
Expanding our Kids World is a Recipient of the VOTE for Play Imagination Playground Award!
Expanding our Kids World in Smyrna, DE is the newest recipient of an Imagination Playground and Play Associate Training (valued at over $7500)! The daycare center garnered a record-breaking 11,700 votes in the Imagination Playground VOTE for Play program, the most votes among the thousands of schools and organizations across the United States that participated! An incredible feat for their school and community!
Expanding Our Kids World is a family-owned and operated childcare center in Smyrna, Delaware. They have been in operation since August 2006 and are licensed to teach, care for, and facilitate 138 children. The goal of EOKW is to nurture each child’s unique qualities and potential by creating a curriculum that exceeds their intellectual, social, emotional, and physical skills.
“Imagination Playground Blocks are going to enhance each teachers abilities to broaden our chilldren’s imagination and creative learning to a whole new level. This has been a wonderful opportunity to foster parental and community involvement. With the collective efforts, we were able to achieve a stimulating new play system that invokes creativity, sparks critical thinking, and is a huge benefit to our students here at Expanding our Kids World,” shared Marlena George, Director.
“We would like to send a warm and heart-felt “thank you” to everyone who helped make this dream come true!"
Marlena George, Director of Expanding Our Kid's World
Fishtown Playschool is a Recipient of the VOTE for Play Imagination Playground Award!
A community rallying together to vote for a new playground for their children is worth celebrating. Fishtown Playschool in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is the newest recipient of the Imagination Playground VOTE for Play Award, receiving their very own Imagination Playground and Play Associate Training (a value of $7,500).
“This has been one of the best days for Fishtown Playschool and imagining our children using the blocks for the first time gives me goose bumps,” shared Chris Morrissey Grubb, one of the co-founders and lead teachers at FPS, when the news came on Thursday that they had been awarded the playground.
Fishtown Playschool, in Philadelphia, PA, is a parent-operated program that began in January of 2013. In the two years since their inception, they have grown to twenty families, rent space in a local church, and have two masters-level teachers. Parents volunteer as classroom helpers several times a month and serve on operating committees.
Ultimately, the coordinated and creative efforts of Fishtown Playschool were rewarded when 8,999 votes later, they accumulated the most votes and were awarded a new Imagination Playground.
“This win is truly a dream come true for us and an incredible testament to the power of community."
Chris Morrissey Grubb, co-founder and lead teacher of Fishtown Playschool
Teunis G. Bergen Public School 9 is a Recipient of the VOTE for Play Imagination Playground Award!
Teunis G. Bergen Public School 9 in Brooklyn, New York is the newest recipient of the Imagination Playground VOTE for Play Award, receiving their very own Imagination Playground and Play Associate Training (a value of $7,500). Their organization recieved a record 2,146 votes, the most votes among the thousands of schools and children's organizations across the United States that participated!
P.S 9 is a diverse, child-centered, public elementary school based in Brooklyn, New York. Their child-centered focus stems from giving their children a voice and seeing their teachers as facilitators in learning. Their journey to rally votes for their school was a community effort. The P.S 9 Parent Teacher Organization was instrumental in spreading awareness of the program to parents. The PTO members shared the links to vote via Yahoo, their website, word of mouth, and posted daily on Facebook and Twitter. P.S.9 is now getting ready for the next step, integrating their new Imagination Playground into their school curriculum.
“Imagination Playground entails children with a sense of inquiry tapping in to a sense of creativity and P.S.9 embraces child directed play...Imagination Playground will challenge their creativity – and enhance our children’s learning experience every single day.”
Sandra D’Avilar, Principal, Teunis G. Bergen Public School P.S. 9
Playtime (+) is a Recipient of the VOTE for Play Imagination Playground Award!
Playtime (+) had 1925 audited votes (second place was unaudited at 1600) and of those 222 were unique – so they had a lot of folks voting every single day to bring the Big Blue Blocks to their children.
There are three locations for Playtime (+), the Broken Arrow location (our winner) is a preschool and a daycare (ages 18 months to 5 years) that operates outside of the normal hours. They work hard to create an opportunity for parents to have a fun and educational place to assist in caring for their children, understanding that parents often need caregivers beyond 9am-5pm and they are there to help.
The preschool has a structured education based curriculum along with music, baby yoga, crafts and baby sign, all at age appropriate levels.
"We believe and promote learning through play, children learn better when they are having fun. Knowing that play develops social skills, collaboration and problem solving we knew we had to find a way to bring the big blocks to our children."
Robin Woldtvedt, Director
Planet Play is a Recipient of the VOTE for Play Imagination Playground Award!
Planet Play of Lenexa, Kansas received 3,122 votes from their community, resulting in the award of an Imagination Playground and Play Associate Training (a value of $7,500). Planet Play is a new organization that connects children, families, and communities with play. Planet Play brings creative play experiences to Kansas City metro communities for young children and their families to explore and learn together.
"We can't wait to bring Imagination Playground and other creative play experiences to the children, families, and communities of Greater Kansas City. We're a new organization, and Imagination Playground will launch our programming. Winning Imagination Playground enables us to offer Year of Play 2015 – daylong family events in communities across the Kansas City metro area. Thank you for this amazing opportunity!"
Lauranne Hess, President of Planet Play
The Jewish School of the Arts is a Recipient Awarded an Imagination Playground!
The Jewish School of the Arts in Palm Beach, FL was awarded an Imagination Playground and Play Associate Training (a value of $7,500) from over 1,600 entries in our program. The Jewish School of the Arts provides for the physical, intellectual and emotional growth of children through activities that are child-directed and teacher guided. At the school and camp, children gain readiness skills for future learning through dramatic play, visual aids, manipulatives and more.
"We are a creative, modern school always looking to discover new ways to fulfill our mission. With the newly won Imagination Playground we fill our mission will be greatly enhanced. We wait in great anticipation and excitement to include this highly regarded play tool into our cutting edge school as we expand further in our community."
Brocha Benhiyoun, Educator at the The Jewish School for the Arts Lauranne
O2B Kids is the Second Recipient Awarded an Imagination Playground!
With an impressive total of 888 votes, O2BKids of Gainesville, FL secured enough online ballots to be awarded an Imagination Playground and Play Associate Training (a value of $7,500). O2B Kids is an Edutainment Company offering preschool education programs for children 0 to 5 years old and afterschool enrichment programs for elementary school students.
“We have been admiring Imagination Playground Big Blocks for years and always wanted to make it a part of our play village, we are just thrilled to be able to offer it the children that visit us."
Andy Sherrard, 02B Kids Founder and Owner
St. Catherine's School is the First Recipient Awarded an Imagination Playground!
The votes have been tallied, and St. Catherine's School of Richmond, VA will be awarded an Imagination Playground and Play Associate Training (a value of $7,500), after capturing the most votes – 367, out of an impressive grand total of 7,296 votes cast for countless schools and organizations across the globe.
"We are beyond thrilled to win an Imagination Playground that aligns beautifully with our STEAM initiatives. This play system will allow our girls to unleash their creativity and help them expand their spatial visualization. Imagine a playground that the girls could potentially build and rebuild each day - the possibilities are astounding. I cannot wait to see the excitement on the girls' faces when they return in the fall."
Annie Kapetanis, Ed.D., Director of Lower School, St. Catherine's School.
Tips to Rally Your Community!
"Planet Play, an August 2014 winner, is a perfect example of rallying your community behind you. Determination was their key to success; they participated in each Vote campaign encouraging folks by using their website, Facebook and Twitter page. Their 224 friends responded, many of them voting on a daily basis to bring these amazing Blue Blocks to the children of their community.”
- Dave Krishock, President, Imagination Playground