MIDDLEPORT — Thanks to a grant, the playgrounds at Meigs Primary School have some new additions.
Earlier this year, at the Meigs County Community Fund Gala, Meigs Primary School received a grant for more than $2,000 to support the creation of a trauma informed playground which is designed to engage all five senses, promote new coping skills, encourage play that is accessible and beneficial to all students, foster friendships and promote creativity. The grant was a awarded from the Health and Human Services Pillar of Prosperity Fund of the Foundation of Appalachian Ohio.
The trauma informed playgrounds are being developed for the kindergarten, first and second grade students.
The grant funds were used the purchase a “Buddy Bench” for each of the three playgrounds, as well as signs to remind the students of how the benches work.
Meigs Primary teacher Darla Kennedy explained that the benches are to be used by students who are feeling lonely, sad or just need a friend. The other students know that if someone is sitting on the bench they should talk to them and invite them to come play. One of the rules for the bench is that the kid sitting there cannot decline an invite to play with other students.
Kennedy said that at recess she see the benches working to help connect students with one another, helping any student in need to find a friend to talk to and play with.
In addition to the buddy benches, music items have been put in place, including a large wooden xylophone which allows students to play and create rhythms on the playground. Items to incorporate art on the playground are being planned.
A truck pit has also been built on the first grade playground, with the hope to build similar areas on the other playgrounds.
“We have worked a lot inside the building (on being trauma informed), now it is time to work on the outside,” said Kennedy. From the music wall and items to the buddy benches, the playgrounds give the kids a place to interact, play and learn.
According to the organization Trauma-Sensitive Schools (provided by Kennedy), a student’s ability to overcome and succeed can be increased by focusing on four domains: establishing relationships with teachers and peers; ability to self-regulate behaviors, emotions, and attention; success in academic and non-academic areas; physical and emotional health and well-being.
“We believe trauma informed playgrounds will encourage growth and progress in each of the four domains, enhancing our students’ abilities to overcome barriers and succeed,” added Kennedy.
“The grant has enabled us to begin the process of creating our own trauma informed playgrounds for our students at Meigs Primary School,” said Kennedy.
Anyone interested in donating to help with the continued expansion of the trauma informed playgrounds can contact Principal Kristin Baer or Kennedy at 740-742-3000.
The Foundation for Appalachian Ohio is a regional community foundation serving the 32 counties of Appalachian Ohio. With the mission of creating opportunities for Appalachian Ohio’s citizens and communities across the region. By growing philanthropic resources, convening partners around issues of importance, and making grants, FAO is working to ensure Appalachian Ohio is a region of abundant possibility. To learn more visit www.AppalachianOhio.org.
The Meigs County Community Fund was created in 2011 to increase and advance philanthropic activities in Meigs County. The Meigs County Community Fund works to attract philanthropic resources in the form of gifts, grants, or bequests to benefit the broader community. It helps everyone give back to Meigs County so the community can invest grants to benefit Meigs County residents.
Sarah Hawley is the managing editor of The Daily Sentinel.