Last Saturday, Dec. 3, the Bright Start Child Development Center celebrated the grand opening of its new progressive play structure.

Numerous children and members of the community were there to celebrate, including Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider, who participated in the official ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The unique play structure was initially an old common play structure that was “upcyled” into this new piece of art designed and built by Outdoor Learning Artscapes. Bright Start undertook this effort as part of its ongoing commitment to enriching young children’s outdoor experiences.

The new play structure is inspired by nature and its connection with the outdoor environment provides endless possibilities for play and creativity. It contains a synthetic turf lawn for sliding, caves for exploring, an elevated seating area and lookout room, and a rock climbing wall. In addition, it’s adorned throughout with colorful stones, jewels and drought-tolerant plants in a playful and whimsical manner.

“Our goal was to provide the children with a wonderfully unique and vibrant play structure that would inspire their imaginations and foster learning,” said Marcela Caceres, director of the Bright Start Child Development Center. “It’s amazing to watch how wonderfully creative the children are as they interact with the structure’s distinctive elements. We feel honored to have this one of a kind artistic structure at our school and believe it fits in wonderfully with the rest of our facilities and educational philosophy.”

Bright Start, 1617 Anacapa St., is a Reggio-inspired preschool for children ages 2 through 6. It has been a privately funded child development center since 1994. It offers an exceptional place for children to grow, learn and discover at its beautiful location in downtown Santa Barbara.

For more information, contact the school at 805.963.2024 or

— Marcela Caceres is director of the Bright Start Child Development Center.