Bailey Elementary to get new playground this summerBailey Elementary School has raised the money, $50,000, to install a new piece of playground equipment this summer as part of its "Recess Rocks" initiative.
By: Amber Kispert-Smith, Woodbury Bulletin
Bailey Elementary School is just steps away from giving its playground a facelift.
The school is poised to vote on the payment and installation of a new piece of playground equipment during tonight’s PTA meeting after nearly three years of fundraising as part of its “Recess Rocks” campaign.
“We are super excited about how it all came together this year,” Bailey Elementary principal Candace Hofstad said. “Everything we’ve done was able to push us right over the edge.”
The new playground equipment has a $50,000 price tag, $35,000 of which comes from “Recess Rocks” fundraising and $15,000 that comes from PTA carry over money.
“We feel very fortunate that we were able to get this done,” Hofstad.
She said the school will be working with the playground equipment company to determine the colors and all other aspects of the equipment before installing it.
Hofstad said she is anticipating an August installation date.
“Recess Rocks,” which started in the fall of 2008, aimed to raise money for new playground equipment, while encouraging more active children in school and at home.
District 833 does not provide any funding for new playground equipment.
Bailey Elementary PTA decided to purchase equipment from Burke Premier Play Environments.
The equipment, the Intensity Fitness Play Complex, is designed to challenge and exercise young bodies, according to the Burke website.
The Intensity Fitness Play Complex is unique from other playground equipment in that it utilizes a lot of spinning, climbing and jumping equipment rather than the standard slides and swings.
“We have enough slides and swings,” PTA member Barb Daly said.
Additionally, the equipment allows children to not touch the ground until they are ready to head inside.
“Our goal was to get a playground for the older kids,” Daly said. “This is really the new technology in getting them moving – kind of the 360-degrees play.
“The younger kids are using the playground already whereas the older kids are not.”
The new equipment also comes with curriculum for physical education teachers where they can teach students how to use the playground “so they can challenge themselves,” Daly said.
“It motivates the kids to work up to a certain level and try new things with each piece because each piece can be used differently,” PTA member Denise Mok said.
Daly and Mok said they liked the Burke equipment because it would work the older students’ upper bodies and give the younger children something to work up to.
“The older kids are kind of sick of the slide and climbing up to the platform kind of thing, so this equipment will challenge them to use more of their muscles,” Mok said. “Plus the little ones can work up to it and that’ll be an accomplishment for them.”
Getting them moving
In conjunction with the fundraising efforts, the PTA is also campaigning to get more kids active during recess.
“Stimulating the brain by movement helps children be more involved in school and be more attentive,” Hofstad said.
Some of the additional incentives the PTA has developed through “Recess Rocks” include implementing more active activities during indoor recess, encouraging teachers to take their kids outside for extra play time rather than having pizza parties, sending out a newsletter to parents with tips on how to get their kids outside and active and even starting a morning exercise for students.
“Students have such limited amount of free play at school,” Daly said. “So, through recess they are getting that exercise they desperately need.”
Getting the money in place
Over the past three years the Bailey Elementary PTA has raised money through a variety of fundraisers such as spaghetti dinners, classroom penny drives, entertainment book sales, Barnes and Noble fundraisers and collecting empty ink cartridges and cellphones.
Earlier this month, the school kicked off its final fundraising push by selling vouchers for hanging flower baskets at school in cooperation with Zywiec’s Landscaping and Greenhouse in Cottage Grove.
Bailey also sold flower baskets during the annual Lion’s Club Garage Sale on May 11.
“A big thank you to the entire Bailey community,” Hofstad said.