Against the backdrop of KL’s stunning skyline, the bubbly, joyous sounds of children enjoying themselves while learning echoes from the rooftop of ISKL’s new Elementary School (ES) playground. This can only mean one thing – the new ES rooftop playground is open!
A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on January 17 to celebrate the opening of this fantastic purpose-built rooftop oasis that has been designed to inspire the imagination and develop the skills of ISKL’s young learners. At the event, ISKL Head of School Rami Madani described the playground as “an important learning space for our students and a major milestone in the ongoing campus enhancement program designed to ensure our students have access to the best learning opportunities and environment possible.”
ES Principal Julie Olson added, “Learning at ISKL doesn’t just take place in a classroom and the skills that our students will develop while having fun are just as important. Whether it’s zipping along on the flying fox, climbing the fort, or navigating the rope course, it’s a place for students to hone their fine and gross motor skills, a place to connect and develop their social skills, exercise, and appreciate being outdoors – especially with the beautiful indigenous trees and plants creating a shady oasis for activities.”
A Community Effort
The ideation for a new playground goes back to the 2020-2021 academic year when ISKL leaders developed a plan to invest the money fundraised through the Inspiration Fund by our community, particularly the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA), in a significant project to further ISKL’s Mission and Vision and extend student learning beyond the curriculum.
ISKL’s Inspiration Fund was established to allow all members of our community to collaboratively give back to the school for the benefit of current and future students and is largely made up of PTA fundraising and ISKL community donations. Inspiration Fund projects are selected to complement ISKL’s rigorous and impactful curriculum and have previously included new programs, visiting experts, artists, coaches, as well as enhancing the 25-acre campus and facilities.
The generosity and support of ISKL’s incredible community made this massive development possible. As Rami shared at the opening ceremony, “We recognize all those whose generosity has made this amazing space possible — our PTA for their fundraising efforts, which have contributed to the Inspiration Fund, to all those who purchased our 55th anniversary Royal Selangor panthers, and our ISKL families and alumni for the generosity of their donations. In addition to demonstrating true Panther spirit, their contributions have created a long-lasting legacy for our students. We also thank Lynette MacDonald, whose vision and dedication brought this very special space to life.”
The ISKL PTA has always been a strong supporter of our community, and contributions from their fundraising efforts were one of the key factors in the success of the Elementary rooftop playground project. Equally important were our generous alumni and their contributions, which also helped fund this project. A special 55th Anniversary Pewter Panther fundraiser was launched in April 2021 to close the gap between the Inspiration fund and the final cost. With a deadline of May 5, the goal was to sell 55 Pewter Panthers and raise RM55,000. That goal was met and exceeded thanks to the incredible generosity of the ISKL community. A final burst of giving was spurred by the generous offer made by Scott Roberts, Class of 1983, to donate RM10,000 if our community would match that amount by purchasing 10 ISKL 55th Anniversary Pewter Panthers. Within hours of the offer being sent, we had sold all 10 panthers, plus a few more, reaching a total of RM70,000.
A Sustainable Sanctuary
Guided by our integral vision for ISKL’s state-of-the-art campus, the brief was to create an inspiring green oasis in the sky. From the outset, students, faculty, and staff all came together to generate ideas for the space, and their amazing inspirations have been reflected in the playground design.
When the first designs were presented there was an air of palpable excitement among the students and the enthusiasm grew as they began to envision towers, climbing nets, monkey bars, swings, zip lines, sandboxes, a suspended bridge, and, of course, lots of trees and plants, shady places to sit, and fun elements to balance on. Making the vision a reality, this special Inspiration Fund project saw the ES rooftop transformed with two multilevel towers connected by a bridge and tunnel; a challenging low ropes course; two zip lines; plus lots of climbing, swinging, sliding, and balancing equipment.
In line with its sustainability goals, materials with low environmental impact were selected to create a natural setting. This led to a playground made from natural wood, rope, brick, and wood mulch flooring. Extensive landscaping and tree planting have resulted in a sanctuary that organically blends with the rest of the school and is complemented by a scenic view of KL’s iconic skyline.
More Than Just Playtime
Learning at ISKL goes beyond the classroom, and the playground is a space for our learners to develop a wide range of skills. Noting this, ES Assistant Principal Azra Pathan said that “Having such an amazing facility means that our students can be better connected to nature and engage in dynamic play activities, easily flowing between the areas. They will be able to engage in creative and active play that builds their gross motor skills as well as their sense of mindfulness and solitude.”
Julie added, “The skills students develop while having fun will help lay the foundation for their learning for life – not to mention the memories they will make. We can’t wait to see our students enjoying the space and our faculty are excited to have the opportunity to integrate it into the curriculum; it adds an amazing dimension to the ES learning experience.”
You, too, can contribute to inspiring people, places, and programs at ISKL, for the benefit of current and future students. For more information, please visit the ISKL Giving page. Keen to explore more of ISKL’s world-class facilities? We invite you to check out ISKL’s campus page to discover how educational architecture is paramount to an inspiring and inclusive learning experience.