The first thing people notice when they arrive at St. James Academy is the landscape. The PreK-8th school is situated on 90 acres of scenic, rolling hills in Monkton. While classes and athletics have always taken advantage of the outside areas, the 2018-2019 brings exciting opportunities for outdoor learning.

Last week, the school celebrated the official unveiling of their new pavilion, steps and outdoor classroom space.

SJA Pavilion - (cool) progeny

Overlooking the playing fields, the pavilion provides seating for sports spectators and space for classes. Teachers are working to incorporate outside learning into their curricula for next school year as the school intends to extend learning beyond the classroom walls in even more ways than they currently do.

“We designed the pavilion to be multipurpose. This is for classrooms. It’s got wireless in it. It’s for assemblies. And it’s also possible for community events,” said SJA Board Member Edward Kohls during Monday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony. (You can watch the ribbon cutting ceremony here.) He then asked students for additional ideas on how the facility can be used to support their experience at St. James.

After all, it’s about the kids.

SJA Pavilion - (cool) progeny

Students were involved in the pavilion design and construction (they signed beams and put in a time capsule). It was important to the school that this endeavor be a community initiative, and they wanted students to know that the pavilion is very much their space.

“We are so thrilled with this beautiful addition to our campus,” said Maureen Walsh, interim head of school. “As our students and faculty gathered for the pavilion dedications, we fit perfectly under the roof. The pavilion will be used in so many ways in the years to come.”

SJA Pavilion - (cool) progeny

While it may have been raining and overcast during the dedication ceremony, second graders sang “It’s a Beautiful Morning” to commemorate the occasion.

We’ve got a wonderful feeling about this new space!

Editor’s Note: This article is sponsored by St. James Academy. Read more about the school in our Independent Schools Directory. Images and video provided by St. James Academy