Four-year-olds on bright yellow tricycles raced last week around an oval track which is part of the new pre-K playground at Pleasant Grove Elementary school. The helmeted tykes, along with their other classmates, were enjoying the new playground, which was completed Aug. 1, according to school Principal Adam Dasinger.
Dasinger said the playground had been made possible thanks to volunteers and a grant from the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education. That department contains the office of school readiness, which set the specifications under which the playground had to be built, according to Dasinger.
“We’ve had various playgrounds over the years that we’ve been able to use. We’re finally able to — with some money and some grants — to put in the best appropriate rural playground that’s around,” Dasinger said.
“I never imagined how thorough it has to be to make a playground that is considered safe by the office of school readiness,” Dasinger said.
Mainly, that means the playground is forgiving of the effects of gravity.
“Surprisingly, most of the surface is the crushed-up tires that’s used for cushioning when kids fall,” Dasinger said.
The rest of the playground’s surface is poured rubber, mixed on-site by the contractor. The playground features a seesaw, art boards, playhouse, swings and other fixtures suitable for the ages of the children.
Dasinger said that the crushed-up tires, in addition to offering a safety cushion, don’t hold water like the cypress mulch used on the old playground.
Pre-K teacher Jackie Blackwell joined the kids and got on the seesaw for a few laughs.
“This was my dream to have this rubber out here,” Blackwell said.
Another pre-K teacher, Sky Victorino, noted that besides its other advantages regarding safety and drainage, the crushed-tire particles result in carpet that stays clean after recess.