Thomas Fleming School Principal Daniel Ryan (above) cuts through a ribbon Monday celebrating the official opening of a new playground. The playground, which sports the only “bamboo jungle gym” at any school in the state, was designed with the help of various student, parent and faculty groups, Ryan said. The school has also ordered features for the playground that will make it easier for those with disabilities to use, Ryan said.

He then touted the benefits of incorporating play into the school day. “We need to acknowledge the value of play in students development and also the social emotional investment that they make – making friends, making connections with kids who aren’t in their classroom. That’s really important: to be a part of a school community,” Ryan said.