Marion eyes playground improvement

February 25, 2016

By John Raffel

Marion Elementary School is partaking in the Together Counts program, with the goal of making improvements to the playground.
Marion staff member Heather Deighton noted she got going on the activity after she received an email from the Together Counts program, which is a nationwide setup inspiring active and heathy living.

The organization says the program was started by The Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation, which is a multi-year effort designated to help cut down on obesity, especially childhood obesity.

The foundation promotes avenues to assist people in achieving a healthy weight through resources developed for both families and schools.

“Each year they sponsor a sweepstakes in which one of the grand prizes of a playground makeover with $30,000 in grant money,” Deighton said. “The program also offers resources for classroom use on healthy living; some of which I’ve accessed to support our fifth grade science unit on body systems.

“Each year I’ve sent the e-mail link to staff at our building with an encouraging word to participate in the hopes that our small school may benefit from a few clicks of the mouse or taps of the screen each day. You’re allowed one entry per day until the deadline of March 25.”

Deighton said she decided this year to post a link on the school’s Facebook page and website so community members would join.
“With school budgets being where they are these days, playgrounds are not on the list of necessary maintenance, nor on the list for bond issues,” Deighton said. “Marion Elementary has one of the most spacious playgrounds I’ve seen at elementary schools, however it could use some vitality and refreshment. Recess is a key in child development, not only for the gross motor development and physical activity.  “Unstructured outdoor play aids children in developing very human skills that can’t be taught in a classroom like problem solving, empathy, group dynamics, social norms and interacting with others.”

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