The Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief

ESSER Fund III provides schools with the means to address the impact of the pandemic and improve the learning environment for students. One innovative way to utilize this funding is to invest in natural playgrounds. Unlike traditional playgrounds, natural playgrounds are designed with elements such as logs, climbing boulders, and trees to create a more holistic play experience for children.

Benefits of Natural Playgrounds

These natural playgrounds offer numerous benefits to children, promoting physical activity, creativity, and a connection to nature. With the emphasis on outdoor spaces growing in importance, utilizing ESSER III funds to create such environments can greatly enhance the overall well-being and development of students.

  • Physical Activity: Natural playgrounds encourage physical activity as children engage in unstructured play that involves climbing, jumping, and exploring natural elements. This active play promotes healthy physical development and helps reduce sedentary behaviour among students.
  • Creativity and Imagination: The natural features of these playgrounds spark creativity and imagination in children. They can transform logs into imaginary creatures, build forts with branches, or create stories inspired by their surroundings. This imaginative play enhances cognitive development and problem-solving skills.
  • Connection to Nature: By playing in natural environments, children develop a deeper connection to nature. This exposure to the outdoors fosters a sense of appreciation for the environment and encourages environmental stewardship from a young age.

Implementation of Natural Playgrounds

A school can use ESSER III funds to transform an unused outdoor space into an engaging natural playground. Collaborating with landscape architects and educators, schools can design playgrounds that complement the surrounding environment and provide diverse play opportunities for students of all ages. Incorporating elements like log balance beams, tree stumps for seating, and plantings can create a dynamic and enriching play area.

Leveraging ESSER III funding to create & design natural playgrounds in schools is a strategic investment in the well-being and development of students. These outdoor spaces not only promote physical activity and creativity but also foster a deeper connection to the natural world. By embracing the concept of natural play, schools can offer children a more enriching and holistic play experience that contributes to their overall growth and learning.

Natural Playground at The Fay School

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