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Kids enjoy new playground, newly installed last week

December 19, 2018

MITCHELL — When the recess bell rings for students at Mitchell Elementary School, a brand new playground will be there for them to have fun.

In December 2017, a group called Mitchell Elementary Parents and Educators Together organized to work with the community to raise almost $90,000 to provide students with new playground equipment. They called it the Playtime Matters Project.

When the group for first organized, parent Beth Erdman said the current playground equipment, installed in 1995, had about reached the end of its usefulness. Plus, as equipment manufacturers continue to change designs, replacement parts were sometimes hard to find.

Over the next nine months, the entire school and the community worked together to raise the necessary funds. They scheduled a 5K race and a pancake breakfast. They had silent auctions, raffles, and teamed up with Sam & Louie’s for a family dinner night. Several charitable groups and area businesses also stepped up to help.

Erdman said the group had originally planned to install the new playground equipment in the spring. But with funding in place and favorable weather for early winter, a crew got busy last week, tearing down the old equipment and installing the new version.

“We’re firm believers in recess time,” Erdman said. “The kids come out here quite a bit to play and have a break from the classroom. It’s great to see them out here.”

Monday morning during recess, Mitchell Elementary students got their first chance to play on the equipment. Kids were sliding down slides, swinging on swings and generally having a fun time during their short break from school work.

“It was amazing to see it finally happen and have kids playing on it,” Erdman said. “The students had a big part in making it happen. They actually voted on the design we chose.”

Recess is always a favorite with elementary students. Without many of them knowing it, the activity provides a needed exercise break from the classroom and also helps develop positive social, cognitive and emotional skills.

“Just coming together as a school and a community, anything is possible,” Erdman said. “We did it all together and I hope the kids remember that.”

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