Larry and Carol Hyatt explore the new playground with the granddaughter Eliana, a first grader at Akiva.

Over one hundred students began the school year at Akiva this year and compounding their first-day-of-school excitement was the chance to see and experience the brand new kindergarten playground, generously donated by Larry and Carol Hyatt.

The Hyatt’s have been longtime supporters of Akiva, noting that, “One of the most powerful ways of ensuring that our next generation has a strong Jewish identity is by providing Jewish Day School education.” Larry, who currently serves as the President of Akiva’s Board of Directors, added that, “For our kids, the Jewish Day School experience needs to be fun and joyous.”

Inevitably, when Larry and Carol learned that the kindergarten playground was no longer meeting those needs, they were moved to get involved in replacing the old structure with a more sustainable, and natural based playground, filled with character and whimsy.

Head of School Rabba Daniella Pressner says, “Gifts like the one from the Hyatt family bring an opportunity for exploratory and imaginative play for our children, starting from their earliest years at Akiva.” Rabba Daniella adds that, “Playgrounds are spaces where children learn to take risks, to ‘try on’ new roles, to collaborate and to lead. These foundational skills are crucial to their social, emotional, physical, and spiritual development and we are so grateful for Carol and Larry’s commitment and support of these ideals.”

The Akiva Community officially opened the new playground at a back-to-school celebration and ribbon cutting ceremony during the first week of school. Families were treated to music, games, and sweet treats, and had the opportunity to test out the new playground. The Hyatt's granddaughter Eliana, now in first grade at Akiva, had a chance to test out the new playground with her classmates. “I love it,” said Eliana, adding, “It is so new and just feels more fun!”

The playground will be used primarily by Akiva’s growing kindergarten classes. “The new playground is an extraordinary space for our youngest students,” says Akiva Kindergarten teacher Ellen Haber, “The intentional design fosters the development of stamina, courage and strength, and compels our kids to work and play together.” Adventure awaits all Akiva students on the playground, and the Akiva Community extends its warmest appreciation to Larry and Carol Hyatt for their gift.

Larry and Carol Hyatt explore the new playground with the granddaughter Eliana, a first grader at Akiva.



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