Central Gets New Playground Equipment for Preschool Kids

Central Elementary PlaygroundMr. Kennedy, SpEd Director, along with Mr. Hale, preschool teacher, and Mr. Potter, principal saw a need to improve safety and accessibility to large playground equipment for preschool aged children. In December 2017, the Special Education Department got preliminary approval to move forward with the project and then received final approval by securing a $35,000 grant for this purpose. Funding for this new equipment was secured through IDEA grant funds that was authorized by the Idaho State Department of Education and the Office of Special Education in Washington D.C. The grant covered the cost of excavation of the fenced play area, the fenced area of the playground and the ball hoop that was installed in the gravel area. A few swings have also been added to help those children who don’t have the core muscle strength to use the regular swings.

The two purposes in seeking the grant and new playground were:

  1. Provide large outdoor playground equipment that was age appropriate for those between 2-5 years of age.
  2. Safety for children. Preschool students can start as young as 3 years old. [We wanted to increase safety of having playground equipment that was not in gravel, that kids could possibly eat, or crawling on the hot pavement.]

The new playground inside the fence is intended to be for those children ages 2-5. As you look at this area, you will notice the green turf. The green turf has a soft pad underneath, creating a softer surface for the children to play on. Another nice feature, is the children will not rocks in their diaper or try to pick up the rocks and try eating them. We hope that this equipment will last for many years to come.

What happens if older children play on it? The structure could become week, creating a safety concern for those who are intended to play on. We hope that everyone would be willing to be respectful so those who are younger can have some age appropriate toys to play on during and after school.  The district advocated for these toys to be inclusive (meaning open for general use before, during, after school) with those who were awarding the grant. We appreciate their willingness to honor our grant project. We hope those in our district community will help and support us too. However, in order to keep the equipment in good repair, and if our patrons and older students struggle with being respectful, we may need to lock the playground when not used by the school.

Here is what the school is trying to teach students: “As with all of our playground equipment, it is to be used for the purpose for which it was intended.

  1. There is a ball tower mounted in the rocks. That is for throwing balls into and not for climbing on.
  2. There are two new swings. Those are for students who cannot use a regular swing; who are developing the muscle strength to be able to sit independently on a swing. So, if youcan use a regular swing that is what you should use. If you cannot use a regular swing without adult help, then you may use the new ones.
  3. There is a new fenced playground. It is for small children (like preschoolers) who have a hard time using the regular toys. The sign says that children between the ages of 2-5 mayuse that playground with adult supervision. So if you are 2, 3, 4, or 5 years old, and you can get an adult to be with you, you may use that playground. If not, you need to stay out.”

The preschool kids have started using their new toys and love the new equipment.