Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Building a Playground: Part 1

According to an article written by Valle Dwight, every school can have a fun and safe playground. Is your school's play structure worn out, even dangerous? By following this step-by-step guide, you can create a play space so dazzling that even the coolest fifth graders will come out and play.

 School playgrounds: essential for learning

We know that play makes kids healthier, smarter and more creative. But tight budgets often make improving school playground equipment a low priority compared to hiring a teacher or buying supplies.

So what’s a parent to do? Do what Massachusetts mother Lisa Stowe did: Team up with other parents and teachers and do it yourself.

“The playground was sorry-looking,” Stowe recalls. The equipment came from a school that had closed down; parts of the structure were literally held together by duct tape and the swing sets were bent.

Stowe shares her blueprint for playground renovation – accomplished in a single school year.

Calling all parents!

Start by talking with your school’s administrators to get their support. The project may require school board approval, depending on the district. Next, recruit parent volunteers. Start now by sharing this article with five friends or teachers who you want to join your cause. Stowe made a presentation at her school’s fall picnic and passed around a sign-up sheet. You can also get the word out through your school's parent group, list serve, school newsletter, or just by calling other parents.

Twelve parents volunteered for Stowe's playground project. The group began meeting every two weeks and broke into three subgroups: a design group (to design the playground), a fundraising group, and a site group (to prepare the site and oversee installation). Their goal was ambitious: to raise $50,000 and complete the playground renovation by the end of the school year.

Tomorrow we will look at raising the money and creating a plan for the playground.


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