Focus on Fitness at the Next Generation Playground this Summer

playground schematicA new playground, Plunkett Mega Park Playground, will replace the former wooden structure, Wacky World, with a modern, eco-friendly playground design that is fully accessible and supports youth fitness this summer!!  The new playground, equipped with slides, swings, climbing systems, and fitness equipment, was named and partly designed by the students at CT Plunkett. Before school was out for the summer, students were asked to come up with names for the new playground, then they voted on the top 5 names and Mega Park was the most popular choice. Students were also asked to draw a diagram of their ideal playground design. The most popular equipment for the playground was, above all, swings and slides. Childhood educators know that some of the most essential learning happens on the school playground. Children learn to challenge themselves physically, and develop fitness habits and an awareness of the importance of daily exercise.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that the rate of childhood and adolescent obesity has nearly tripled over the last twenty years. Playgrounds, free play, and outdoor physical activity programs play a critical role in providing resources to get kids moving.We will maximize the use of the playground to promote physical activity, develop wellness habits, and meet national standards for physical fitness – all in the context of fun.  Our physical education classes will have access to the playground, which has many apparatuses that strengthen core muscles, develop coordination, encourage full body balance, and focus on upper body strength. We want to develop healthy habits in America’s youth because we know the most reliable way to become a healthy adult is to be an active and healthy child.

To date we have been able to raise $56,309.00 toward the playground fund. We have our wonderful students, families, area businesses and community to thank for working so hard to raise funds. Our playground will have room to grow. Our goal is to add different pieces of equipment over time to encourage adults and children in the community to exercise for better health.

Students and staff have been busy fundraising all year long. We have donation cans decorated by our students placed at area businesses, a spaghetti supper was held at Bounti Fare in February, the Adams Ale house held a fundraiser, Pizza Jim’s pizza cards were sold, we held a Father-Daughter Dance, and continuously collected donations in our Wishing Well. Plus we were awarded grants from the William J. & Margery S. Barrett Fund for Adams, Cheshire, and Savoy and the Lowe’s Toolbox for Education.

Our current fundraiser is a golf tournament being held at Forest Park Country Club on Friday July 11 starting at 3:00. There are still a couple of team spots available, and we are looking tee sponsors at $25 and raffle items as well. Email ctpptg@acrsd.net to sign up or call FPCC.

The playground committee met with several playground vendors and an RFP for the project went out in June. Several proposals were submitted and after careful review the committee has selected Site Specifics, LLC of Rochester, MA to bring our new playground to life. Cindy Maak of Site Specifics has created a wonderful design that has incorporated all of the items requested by the students and the committee to meet the fitness focus, the accreditation standards, and the fun! She has extensive experience designing and building playgrounds and we are excited to be working with her.

Next week the committee will begin the work of determining how much of the playground design can be installed prior to the start of school in September, with the money we have raised to-date. Time is running out as decisions have to be made and orders need to be placed. We are approximately $20k short of our goal and are looking to any businesses or individuals who have been thinking about donating to please do it now! Even small donations have helped us to raise over $56k in just one year. Let’s finish this project with a full playground!

Donations can be made by mailing your check to CT Plunkett PTG, 14 Commercial St., Adams MA 01220, by going to our website www.ctplunkettptg.org and donating online, or at Adams Community Bank.

The children are thrilled to have a playground this fall and we can’t thank our community enough for your very generous support!

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