The playgrounds of Cider Mill School have received some colorful new additions. EduMarking playground markings were added to the north and south drop-off and pick-up points in September and have been a big hit with students and staff.
EduMarkings are thermoplastic, durable, playground designs and games that can last for many years. Neither weather nor traffic are detrimental to the designs.
Alyssa Peterson, a third-grade teacher at Cider Mill, first noticed the EduMarkings at her own daughter’s school in Fairfield. After reaching out to the Fairfield PTA she learned the designs had many benefits.
“It reduced the amount of behavior issues, and the kids simply loved it,” Peterson said, noting that as a member of the school leadership team she has been part of conversations about student behavior issues during outside play at Cider Mill. She added that there wasn’t a lot for students to do outside other than play on the playground and in the Gaga Pit.
“We had a discussion in leadership with our administrators about ways to give the children more options, especially on the blacktop. Our hope was that our students would have more to play with outside, which would reduce children’s negative behaviors and even increase conflict resolutions among students independently.”
The markings range from the game Four Square, a giant snakes and ladders game and a colorful trail to follow, among other designs.
An anonymous donor came forward with funds to cover a portion of the initiative and the Cider Mill PTA voted to fund the rest. Michelle Krupa, Cider Mill PTA co-president said it was an easy decision.
“When Dr. Falcone approached us with Ms. Peterson’s idea, we were immediately interested in pursuing it and bringing it to our PTA members for a vote. Not only are the playground markings a resource for the Cider Mill community, but they are truly a valuable asset to the whole town. We are beyond thankful for the support of our school and local community that allowed us to make such an important investment in our school!”
Peterson worked with her after school club students and her club partner teacher to choose which markings would appeal the most to all grades.
The feedback from both staff and students has been incredibly positive.
“They definitely seem to love the activity track, the snakes and ladders games and the giant Four Square boards. Students in general have said many positive comments. They look forward to their time on the blacktop as much as when they are on the playground. I have even seen teachers, including myself, playing the giant snakes and ladders games and laughing along with the kids during our teacher recess! I love seeing all of their smiles,” Peterson said.
Cider Mill Principal Dr. Jen Falcone is equally enthusiastic. “Our Cider Mill students have been so excited to play with these new structures during recess. We have seen an increase in our students’ positive play and engagement levels. This has definitely helped to decrease unexpected, or negative, behaviors during recess.“
Peterson thinks EduMarkings would make a terrific addition to both Miller-Driscoll Elementary School and Middlebrook Middle School, and added that there are different markings geared towards younger children.
Peterson also hopes to come up with some additional ideas for the field area such as volleyball nets, tetherball, or soccer nets.
“I am hoping to put our ideas together at leadership with our administration to help this happen soon,” she said.