Last week, the students there at Bloom-Vernon Elementary were celebrating receiving the Blue Ribbon in Education and now they are enjoying a brand new playground. Some of the teachers and administrators said they know that one way of showing the kids they care about all their needs is bringing them joy and fun through the new playground.
Marc Kreischer, Superintendent of Bloom-Vernon Schools said, “We were inspecting the safety of our playground last year, we started to realize that our playground, our equipment, was in a lot worse shape than we originally thought and we really needed to do something immediately to the larger playground.
For the last 20 years not only have the students gotten use out of it but the community uses it often as well. As a result of that much use during the school day and after hours, there was some wear and tear needing attention.
“We are very happy with what’s been done. It’s really exciting for the kids and the community,” Kreischer said. “The kids are excited, the teachers are excited and I know parents are about the new playground.”
Kreischer was asked how they funded the playground he said, “We looked at some grants, but a lot of the grants were difficult to get and we felt because of the immediate need, we just made the decision to spend the money to do it, because we were either going to have to shut it down or put a new one in, so we made the decision to put it in.”
Sandy Smith, Principal of Bloom-Vernon Elementary said, “We do plan in the future to replace the lower grades playground also. And our PTO, our focus for fundraising efforts for this year are going to be to try to help and cover some of the cost of that.”
Kreischer added, “That is something I’m sure our PTO would have done for this one as well, but we didn’t know the actual shape it was in, until we had it evaluated, so there wasn’t time for the PTO to necessarily fund-raise for that, but we are now planning on the smaller playground, that doesn’t have as much wear and tear, because it’s not the one the kids go to all the time. Our PTO has always been supportive of fundraising like this.”
Kreischer talked again about the safety issue being most important, “It’s definitely going to help with all those little things that are important to our kids and the families. We want them to be active and with a playground like that, it is going to just help their activity out there, they aren’t going to be sitting around on an iPhone or Chromebook when they are outside, we want them to play and that’s extremely important to for today’s youth.”
Many of the community members along beside board members and several kids brought rakes and shovels out to spread the mulch as Charlie Boggs, the maintenance director, dumped it.
“Everyone in our community is always willing to help with things like that and Charlie (Boggs) has a passion for what he does, even after school,” Kreischer said.
Smith told of one of the students saying ‘my class is not gonna believe it when I tell them I helped spread this mulch’. She continued, “Just the whole process of (the kids) watching the old playground being torn down, the kids have hung on to every piece of that and I guarantee a lot of them when they climb it, they are not going to be looking at it as just something to slide down, they are going to be looking at where the screws are and how this (part) is held up.”
Maggie Warner, fourth-grade math teacher said, “The kids are so excited, that’s what they talk about every morning when they walk in and I think the teachers are just as excited. We’ve requested if we can be the first to play on it, jokingly sort of. Even my son, who is not in school yet, can’t wait.”
Adam Howe, Bloom-Vernon Elementary Assistant Principal said, “I try to get outside every day during recess and it’s just amazing how many kids rather than playing, they put up and sat on the picnic tables and they’re watching the work going on and every day they’re asking when’s it gonna be ready and asking certain elements of the playground and what’s it gonna do.”
Warner added, “It teaches them that hard work pays off, even in our classrooms, we have a year-long economics project where kids have classroom jobs and they earn salaries and they have to pay rent for their desks and things that they want, and literally seeing how that hard work pays off and they can do things and get things.
Now that the playground has been opened, the kids at Bloom-Vernon Elementary can have fun and enjoy it, many of them can tell those who come after them, “We watched that playground begin from the start and some of us even helped make sure it was up and ready for the entire community to put to use.”
Reach Kimberly Jenkins (740) 353-3101 ext. 1928
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