Creekside Charter School unveils new natural playground | SierraSun.com

Creekside Charter School unveils new natural playground

Special to the Sun

The playground features, among other activities, a makerspace shed, teepee and camp cookout area, log pyramid, climbing wall, tire tube, obstacle course, and a labyrinth.

OLYMPIC VALLEY, Calif. — Creekside Charter School wrangled its parent and student manpower after the first week of school to help built a new natural playground.

Leading the charge were parent volunteers Eben and Allyson Schreiber, who corralled the parent troops and helped garner donations of various materials, including wood, paint, canvas and tires, as well as their labor and time.

The playground runs through and around the school at Squaw Valley. It was built for less than $600, thanks to contributions by nearly a dozen local businesses, including Green Envy Landscaping, Kelly Brothers Painting and Truckee-Tahoe Lumber Company.

"In all of my years as a teacher and administrator at various schools across the country, I have never seen a community rally as this one did to build such a labor of love," said school director Jeff Kraunz. "The parents on site worked tirelessly, often with kids by their side, modeling the qualities we hope to inspire in the students that attend our school."

According to a 2011 study by the University of Tennessee, natural playgrounds are considered to be more beneficial to children and inspire more play than the traditional, brightly colored metal playgrounds.

Specifically, the study found that children in playgrounds featuring logs and flowers tend to use their imagination more and are actually physically more active, engaging in more bone and muscle strengthening activities.

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At the end of last year, the school raised more than $1,200 to go toward equipment for a playground. With only a portion used, the school will allocate those funds for other needs, including the continued development of its new science lab, and perhaps as the school year progresses, more natural elements to its playground.

This article was submitted by Creekside Charter School and Squaw Valley Prep. Visit creeksidecooperative.org or squawprep.org to learn more.

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