Updated: Sep 13
It’s a parent’s favorite time of the year, the kids are back at school! Kids all over the country are back in the classroom learning new things, making new friends and settling into their new routine. While everyone is worried about getting to school on time, homework, and after school activities, we don’t always think about the kids favorite time of the day, RECESS! Playgrounds, sports fields and outdoor community areas where kids come together and socialize and play together are a very important part of school. Recess is a time where they can get their wiggles out, sit and talk to their friends, play a friendly game together, and just take an important break from learning. It’s important to not forget about these places and to make sure the equipment and amenities are up to par and to code so every kid has a safe place to utilize during the all important break from the school day.
When is the last time you took inventory of your playground’s equipment and other site amenities around the campus? There is no time like the present to take a good inventory to determine which are most in need of upgrades or replacements. It is no small task to take on but essential to ensuring children’s safety. Fortunately, Miracle Playsystems offers school districts a Needs Assessment that will essentially do this work for you!
Utilizing the most current safety and code requirements we evaluate your equipment to determine your long-term and short-term maintenance needs to meet today’s play equipment standards. Then, we can utilize the CMAS pricing contract to save money and time, precluding the need for public bid requirements.
Perhaps the most valuable part of our Needs Assessment is that is can set you up to apply for and receive new funding! The Needs Assessment is a tool you can utilize to apply for grant or bond funds. It can also be used to solicit donations from community organizations. Nearly 71% of our clients who use this assessment successfully secure the funds needed to replace outdated and unsafe play structures.
Over the summer we were able to assist and help several local School Districts in updating their playgrounds while the kids were on summer break. Check out these projects below that were completed just in time for school to begin! You can read more about each playground update in our Blog post about Summer Updates.
Get Your Parent Teacher Club Involved!
Maybe a complete playground update isn’t exactly in the school’s budget this year. There are other ways to make an impact with a smaller budget. Looking for funding help with the school’s PTA/PTC or a local organization that gives back to the community can help provide the funds to make a playground update come to life.
A school’s PTA/PTC could be a driving force to get the playground built. They can help with the fundraising, selection and design of the playground and labor for installation. Earlier this year we had the pleasure of working with the Vallejo Mill Elementary School PTA in Fremont, CA. Their old playground, which was built in the 1950’s was dilapidated, old and out of date. Miracle Playsystems came together with the PTA to design a beautiful, bright, rainbow theme playground. The playground upgrade was made possible by the school’s PTA who’s fundraising efforts, with a Color Fun Run at the beginning of the year, raised enough funds to make the upgrade possible.
Small Changes Make a Big Difference
Installing a new playground might not be feasible for every school due to tight funds and budgets. Sometimes a smaller, less expensive, and less time-consuming playground improvement can impact and add value to a school’s play space. Updating a playground to be more inclusive can be as simple as adding an inclusive playground product like an inclusive swing seat on an already existing swing set or a pull along or roller slide. Another great idea to add impact with little cost could be adding an outdoor musical play space with products from Percussion Play or Concerto. What a great way to bring the school’s music program outside! Another small element that can make a big difference in a child’s life is the addition of a “Buddy Bench” where they can sit and make new friends easily. Our Wabash Valley line of products has a “Buddy Bench” that can be ordered and installed for a small change that can make a HUGE difference to a kid trying hard to make new friends at school!
Middle Schools and High Schools Have Needs Too
Just because a school doesn’t have a playground doesn’t mean the outdoor space should be neglected. A middle school or high school have a variety of outdoor elements that need attention and possible upgrades over the years. Various site amenities like tables, benches and trash receptacles can get damaged, wear out or just need a face lift. A school’s quad and outdoor gathering spaces are very important social spaces for these kids. We shouldn’t forget to make sure those spaces are adequate for them to use.
Another option for refreshing playground equipment for schools -- especially Middle and High Schools -- is the addition of outdoor fitness equipment. Bring your school’s PE time to the next level with the addition of some great outdoor fitness equipment from HAGS that promotes exercise and the importance of health in these students.
A Middle or High School outdoor sports field can see wear and tear over it’s lifetime. Make sure these surfaces don’t go un-maintained! Sometimes an updated surfacing project using materials from No-Fault could be needed to make the school top notch for student athletes.
Playground Equipment for Schools: Next Steps
It can be overwhelming trying to decide what needs improvement and updates on a school campus. The goal should be to provide a safe space for children to enjoy play, sports and social gatherings. Sometimes just observing students at recess can help you determine what your playground is missing. The same goes for other areas of a school campus. Maybe you notice students standing around waiting for the swing? Or at lunchtime at a High School you notice many students don’t have a place to sit outside. Are teachers dragging chairs outside from the classroom? Maybe you should look into adding more benches or tables throughout the campus for students to take their learning outdoors. To encourage creative expression, you might build an outdoor music and dramatic arts area with a stage and musical instruments designed for outdoor use. Whatever the need, we can help! Contact Miracle Playsystems today!