Low Cost Recreational Program Brings Peace to School Playground

From Whitter Daily News
By Tracy Garcia, Staff Writer
Posted: 10/25/2009

"It's something I read about on the Internet and it grabbed my eye," said Principal Marla Duncan, who said the 575-student campus had been fundraising for years to get new playground equipment.

"But we raised money not knowing how expensive (the equipment) is, along with the installation," she said.

"And since we couldn't afford to put more equipment in, we started looking at other ways to get kids occupied here on campus."

That's when Duncan found Peaceful Playgrounds, a lower-cost recreational program that uses multicolored alphabet and number grids, lines, circles and squares to engage students in more than 100 different kinds of outdoor activities.

Kids will be able to play hopscotch, four square, around the world, pickle and volley tennis - and they'll all be playing by the same rules, which will be taught by the P.E. teacher and should help reduce conflicts between students during play, Duncan said.

"Students are also training to be peer mediators," Duncan said. "And one thing they'll learn is that when there's a conflict, you can solve it with like a rock-paper-scissors game - as opposed to name-calling, pushing and hitting.

"We're hoping this is going to make the playground more peaceful."