Students at Fairview/Miss Jewell Elementary School came back to school from the Thanksgiving holiday and were welcomed by new playground equipment and outdoor games.

A grant from Copperas Cove Education Foundation funded the playground equipment, paint and plans for blacktop games.

Leah Miller, principal at Fairview/Miss Jewell, applied for the grant.

“We chose the Peaceful Playgrounds program because it incorporated the painting activities for the blacktop and those would allow our primary grades to play learning games under the direction of their teachers as well as equipment that could support free play and socialization on the playground,” Miller said. “The students seem very excited to have the new equipment and activities. If a teacher forgets to bring the new materials out, the students are quick to remind him/her about them.”

Isaac O’Brien, a fifth grader, enjoys playing with the footballs. “We spend most of our recess playing football or practicing running for track,” he said. “It is good to be outside with my friends.”

Miller understands how important that time is for students like Isaac.

“We chose the playground refresher because of the ability to help students socialize during recess,” Miller said. “Many times we are so busy working on academics with our students that the socialization part of elementary gets minimized. The playground becomes a place where students can learn to work together and develop skills that will benefit them in years to come.”

Casey Stephens, a staff member at the school, helped plan the playground refresh.

“My first impression of the Peaceful Playground system was that it is an incredible way to give the students more choices at recess. When deciding how the playground refresh was going to be laid out, Deborah Vaughn and I surveyed our available space and first laid out the games that would benefit several grades. We had more than 15 people help with the refresh on the weekend.

“Staff members thought this was a good idea for our students and were willing to help. It was great to have teachers help with the refresh because they were able to choose what they would be most likely to use with their students. We incorporated Fundations, a program to improve students’ reading skills, into one of the letter games to reinforce lessons students learned in class.”

Aiden Palomera Calzadillias, a kindergarten student, said he loved the new games and balls.

“My friends and I play with them and I make sure all the balls and hoops get back in the basket so they stay nice,” Calzadillias said.

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