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A draft of the design for the Mother Goose shoe, which will cost around $30,000 to construct. Courtesy photo.

Southold school group launches fundraising campaign for Mother Goose shoe-shaped playground

The students at Southold Elementary School may soon be playing on a new outdoor play space inspired by the story of  “The Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe.”

A GoFundMe campaign is underway to secure $28,000 to erect a “Mother Goose” structure on the elementary playground, which will be utilized both as an avenue for imaginative play as well as an additional outdoor classroom. Some funds have already been raised toward the playground (see prior story here), but the Southold School Educational Foundation is working hard to continue to “expand opportunities for students and staff,” said foundation president Bob Boergesson.

“The SSEF is growing into a vibrant part of supporting and enriching the lives of students,” said board vice president Claudia Ramone. Funds raised through the foundation give teachers an opportunity to create unique projects through a mini-grant program. In 2016 grants were awarded to the virtual enterprise team, the English language learners program, the newly founded “History of Us” project, a summer garden pollinator program and robotic hummingbird kits for 4th-grade science classes.

The vibrant school garden, which has provided hundreds of pounds of fresh produce for the students at Southold, operates under the umbrella of the foundation. The fundraising group has raised money to build an outdoor amphitheater, the school television broadcasting program began with the help of the foundation, and it has provided innovative materials and supplies for new curriculum initiatives, too.

Dr. David Gamberg, Southold’s superintendent of schools has dreamed of having creative play spaces for nearly a decade, he said in a 2016 interview. “Many years ago, I began to dream of what I call a ‘play-scape experience’ that included a wide range of things, like the amphitheater and a garden, and it’s finally coming to fruition in Southold,” Gamberg said.

The foundation plans to hold its second annual cash raffle in the spring to fund the educational grant program and it has tentatively secured a venue for an “all-class alumni gathering” on Sept. 23, 2017.