Edison Language Academy, considered a leading Spanish-language immersion program in the country and which is part of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District, celebrated the renovation of its kindergarten courtyard October 4th.

The project is the third renovation of a common area to be undertaken by Edison school parents in the last three years.

School officials said that, thanks to contributions made by parents, donors and volunteers, patchy grass, deteriorated play equipment and tables were replaced with reseeded grass, a new playhouse structure, tables and umbrellas at the courtyard.

In addition, butterfly murals painted by artists Mia Bunn and Henry Goods now brighten the walls outside each classroom.

“We’re thrilled to have another ‘outdoor classroom’ that is not only beautiful but has accurate murals that will help us teach children about the relationship between habitat and living creatures and about the life cycle of these delicate creatures,” said Lori Orum, Edison Language Academy principal. “We chose local butterflies (some endangered) so we can teach about our own ecosystem.

“This courtyard joins others on the Santa Monica watershed and the Santa Monica Bay already completed at Edison.

“With the addition of other butterfly-attracting plants, we’re also starting to see more real butterflies in the courtyard, which is very exciting for the kindergartners.”

In all, the renovations required over 125 volunteer hours and in-kind donations from F K Nursery, among others.

Last summer, Edison families and supporters undertook the rebuilding of the school’s main courtyard, setting an example for water conservation by designing the courtyard to include a low-water-use irrigation system, drought-tolerant plants and trees, and a smaller lawn that reduces the amount of water runoff that goes into the city drains and into the Santa Monica Bay.

“The kindergarten courtyard was such a drab and tired area before these improvements,” said Grace Phillips, an Edison parent and the landscape designer who executed the vision for the courtyard and “kinder playground.” “We felt it was important that children’s first kindergarten experience include a special play area.

“The renovations made during the summer have brought new life and energy to this space that is now a source of pride for Edison families and staff.”