A redesigned preschool, a world languages wing, and a sound-recording room were a few of the new surprises Ridgefield Academy students came back to on the West Mountain Road campus this Wednesday, Sept. 5, for their first day of classes.
The campus was busy this summer during the complete renovation of the new preschool space, now filled with natural light and including more classroom space, a mini-theater, and an expanded playground.
Tara Simeonidis, head of preschool and lower school, said: “It is a beautiful facility and also the perfect place to launch our new Twos Program (with flexible hours) for the youngest members of our community.”
A new kitchen lab, where children will prepare or cook their daily snack, will be completed this fall. The lower school also got a new roof, new skylights and climate control in virtually all teaching spaces.
In addition to new classrooms, world language teachers will share a newly constructed language computer lab designed to improve speaking and listening skills for students in grades 4-8.
“The world language wing allows teachers to collaborate more on curriculum. The new space is enhanced by a new language lab outfitted with dedicated laptops equipped with special language-based software as they will focus more on the increased use of technology in their newly space,” said Joe Perry, head of middle and upper school.
A whisper room sound booth and new sound technology has been installed in The Bridge, the school’s 6,000-square-foot research and digital media arts center, which is equipped with iPads, animation, desktop publishing and movie software, a green screen room, and a modern library (opened September 2011).
“This space will enhance digital arts even more at Ridgefield Academy as it allows students to record voice-overs for their films and animations, compose music electronically, learn how to record and edit live music, create sound effects and so much more,” said Mr. Perry.
In addition to teachers for the Twos Program, a growth in student enrollment prompted the hire of two new full-time teachers for grade 4 as well as a second digital arts teacher for grades 4-8 and a part-time history teacher. A new chef dedicated to adding locally grown food to the lunch menu joins the staff of RA as well.
Diggers of all shapes and sizes worked many hours this summer in preparation for the new facilities storage barn, which remains on schedule for a November completion. This structure will provide adequate storage space and offices for the campus facilities crew.
Head of School Jim Heus said: “After what seems like a quick summer, we at Ridgefield Academy are now ready to do what we all do best — inspire and empower our students to be good friends, think critically, work collaboratively, and enjoy the process of learning.”
Ridgefield Academy will host an open house on Oct. 20 from 11 to 1. For more information, visit www.ridgefieldacademy.org or call 203-894-1800 x112.