Though it’s there to provide entertainment and enjoyment, the school playground also can be quite dangerous for young children.

Though it’s there to provide entertainment and enjoyment, the school playground also can be quite dangerous for young children.
Accidents can happen and kids can fall from the monkey bars or the tornado slide.
For the past several years at Northeast Elementary School, children who fell on the playground were landing on a hard, rocky, concrete-type surface — not the most giving of the materials.
Arms and legs were scratched and scraped and some students even suffered broken bones from the fall.
“The more I’ve worked here and been around, the more kids I’ve seen get hurt,” said Tina Valenzuela, the school’s PTO president. “It was not good. Every time they fell, there were falling on that hard surface. It was pretty dangerous.”
However, thanks to more than 40 volunteers, thousands of dollars in grant money and more than 44,000 pounds of rubber mulch, the playground at Northeast Elementary is a safer place for children.
The school recently received a $5,000 grant from Lowe’s, as part of the store’s Toolbox for Education program. Toolbox for Education was created in 2005 to provide grants to help fund parent-initiated educational projects. Since its inception, the store has awarded more than 3,500 grants representing an investment of nearly $18 million to schools in all 50 states and in Washington, D.C.
“Education is the cornerstone to building bright futures and stronger communities,” Lowe’s said in a statement, “and we hope that the playground will provide students with a safe place to enjoy their childhoods.”
The total cost of the project was $8,300, with the remaining $3,300 coming from the USD 246 Foundation.
Work on the transition began on Friday with crews from various area businesses, along with community volunteers, digging out the previous surface and moving it to the preschool parking lot. On Saturday, approximately 30 volunteers showed up at 6 a.m. to begin filling the playground area with rubber mulch. The city of Arma also loaned some of its equipment to assist in the project.
“This was a great community effort and Northeast Elementary and Junior High students also worked on their playground along with staff and teachers from the school,” Valenzuela said.
Ronda Fincher, NES principal, said she is relieved to finally have a safer, softer surface below the playground for children to land on in the event of an accident.
“I really did not want to see anymore children being hurt out here,” she said. “To have this new material beneath them when they play is a huge load off our minds, and I’m sure off of the parents’ minds, as well.”