Archive for Thursday, November 15, 2007

Fundraiser aims to boost new LES playgrounds

November 15, 2007

Not only will students in kindergarten through fifth grades be getting a new, top-of-the-line school, the Lansing Education Foundation Fund wants to take it a step further and make sure they also get the best playgrounds possible.

Last week, LEFF teamed with Lansing Elementary and Intermediate schools for the fundraiser Pennies for Playgrounds. Donation jars were given to each classroom and seminars in the district and students were asked to contribute.

The class that raised the most money in each school will win a pizza party and the principal of the school that raises the most as a whole will have to wear the colors of their opposing university.

Mary Alice Schroeger, LEFF president, said the money would go toward playground enhancements that will supplement the amount budgeted in the original construction costs. She said playground equipment was extremely expensive, so money for enhancements such as benches, additional basketball goals and trash cans was needed.

"If you want something special for your kids, it generally takes more money to do that," she said.

At the new elementary, there are plans for several playgrounds that will cater to different age groups. Schroeger said providing the appropriate equipment for each grade is important for student development.

Results of the Pennies for Playgrounds fundraiser are being tabulated, and Schroeger said she is hoping that the community and the students realize the importance of the program and want to help with donations.

Working with Schroeger on the project has been kindergarten teacher Vickie Kelly. Kelly said she's always a proponent of wellness, and she said the playground is the perfect place for students to be physically active.

"Not all learning takes place in classroom," she said. "The playground is such an important part of going to school."

Kelly said students learn how to be leaders, how to cooperate and how to be friends on the playground and that giving them the best equipment to do that on will benefit so many in the future.

She hopes her excitement for the program reaches out to the community because she said everyone benefits from having a nice playground, not just the teachers and students who attend the school.

LEFF also will conduct several other fundraisers throughout the year for further playground enhancements. After Thanksgiving, there will be "Pies for Playgrounds" where the community can order a pie for $15 from several available varieties.

In December, there will be "Playtime for Parents" where the high school Kayettes will offer baby-sitting services to parents wanting a night off.

Schroeger said she was most excited with the idea of holding a community-wide workday. She said she is looking into the feasibility of inviting community members to come out and prepare the ground or work with professionals setting up equipment for the playgrounds.

"It's an opportunity for the public to be engaged in the actual building even though they can't participate in the construction," she said.

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