Education can prepare us for work. But play can prepare us for education.
That’s the idea behind an effort to raise funds for the first playground at Charlottesville’s Walker Upper Elementary School.
“Research shows that having adequate play spaces and time is the best thing we can do to promote brain development,” according to Christa Bennett, parent and fundraising leader.
That makes sense. In fact, the research says that the quality and variety of equipment and games in a play space can affect children’s physical, cognitive, social and emotional growth.
The playground could be particularly meaningful for those students who come from low-income backgrounds. That’s 55% of Walker’s students.
In its 31 years of existence, Walker hasn’t yet had an official playground. It’s time for that to be rectified.
Charlottesville school officials recently announced a plan to reconfigure schools and turn Walker into an early childhood center. A formal proposal is expected next year.
Still, it could take years for the proposal to be executed, and in the meantime the middle-schoolers can be enjoying their playground.
Better still would be if the playground could be designed to be easily converted to fit younger children’s needs and interests.