Grade School Playground
"Play is the highest form of research." Albert Einstein
Did you know that research has shown that free play – the kind of creative, spontaneous games that playgrounds encourage – builds social skills, confidence & self-esteem, and may stimulate brain development? We certainly know the children return from recess refreshed & able to focus. Beyond the physical benefits of developing motor skills, improving flexibility, and increasing balance, it reaps far more benefits: learning to resolve conflicts, practice taking risks in a safe environment, learn to cooperate & compromise, learn self-control, problem-solving and decision-making.
St. Mary’s School's playground equipment is estimated to be well over 30 years old, with the newest structure being from the early 1990s. Each year, during our insurance inspections, we get notes regarding the conditions of the playground, the safety concerns, and things that have to be taken care of. Because we are a private school, we have been able to get by without being ADA compliant for some time, and have been able to avoid some safety concerns by stop-gap measures. However, it has become increasingly clear that we cannot continue in this manner.
We are working with Crouch Recreation on a playground design that will incorporate all the favorites but maintain high safety-standards and make us ADA accessible. Our mission with this project is that our playground will be a safe, ADA compliant, easy to maintain environment, that encourages open-ended play for students of various ages and abilities. All current equipment will be removed and will be replaced with a large play structure that has many collaborative & skill-building activities for ages preschool through 6th grade. It includes upper-body equipment for strength building & learning about gravity, and collaborative equipment that requires kids to work together. The playground covering will be the ADA approved loose fill rubber chunks. The project will also include, but is not limited to: new swings, a new slide, a new-style merry-go-round, benches, tether-balls, a walking area, and a large green space for the students to play kickball, football, tag, etc. We have taken many cost-cutting measures by tapping into local resources for the tear-down and are proposing a 'community build' that would also include local help. We have raised just under $75,000 to date, but are estimating the total project to be around $90,000. Our goal is to have the new playground in place by fall of 2018.
Play It Forward