Students at York Elementary School were among the first to turn the dirt at a (play) groundbreaking event on November 12. More than 500 attended the celebration of a grant-funded project to develop a safe space for outdoor learning, active play, team sports and physical activity for the entire school community. First-graders sang about planting seeds to grow strong and tall, and Holly Berry of York Elementary PTA presented the North Carolina PTA and the John Rex Endowment with oversized cards of thanks from the children.
York Elementary PTA received a grant from the John Rex Endowment to help create a modern play space at the school with an interactive discovery playground, outdoor learning lab and an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)-approved exercise track. The goal of the project is to increase the amount of moderate to vigorous physical activity that students at the school participate in every school day.
The Healthy Active Children policy mandates that schools offer 30 minutes of moderate vigorous physical activity per day. While York Elementary students currently benefit from the recommended 30 minutes of daily physical activity, a goal of the playground renovation is to enable a majority of students to receive outdoor interactive instruction for an additional 30 minutes a day.
Additionally, track refinishing will create a paved exercise space accessible to children of all abilities and will be utilized after school by Girls on the Run, a co-ed running club, physical education classes, the YMCA afterschool program and the community.
York Elementary is the first STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) school in Wake County to be equipped with this one-of-a-kind learning environment. The interactive discovery playground will fuse physical activity with STEM focused learning environments and creative play. The design will incorporate multiple unique elements including a recycled tire learning game, outdoor chalkboard and trellis, stump jumps and a rock garden.
“This inventive playground is truly an investment that will make a difference in our students' health and success,” said Keith Richardson, principal at York Elementary School.
Watch the video shared by Wake County Public School System.
Visit the York Elementary School website for updates.