Loose Parts Playground
This is a bit of a turn from our normal blogs. It won’t be about what we do as Alameda Arts. It is all about working with the school community.
It all started with a video that Erin, our librarian, showed me. It was a video with children playing at recess with a bunch of junk. Oh, my gosh!! We could do that as a school? I was in. I showed it to the PTA president. He said it looked like Alameda Arts on steroids. Now, how to get the money to set it up… how to get the principal to agree…. how to rally the staff…. and, how to get the district to approve. It all happened. Erin found money through a Lowes grant. The staff thought it was an amazing idea. The principal read the research behind this idea of loose parts play and was in. The district agreed (with a few minor changes).
Last spring, we purchased three 4 x 8 sheds from Lowes. Some dads from the Dads Club put them together. Erin and I collected all sorts of junk to fill the sheds. Erin showed the students a short video and had them play with small junk in the media center to prepare them for the fun ahead. She had them consider which life skills they would need to use when playing, and had them think of a few disputes that might arise. We launched the program a year ago. On the first day of opening the sheds, I asked one of the boys—on a scale of 1 to 10, how was this recess? He yelled, “1000!” That says it all.
Here are some pictures of the kids in action.