King George Elementary School has finally completed its playground project, which took years of fundraising by the volunteers on the School Community Council (SCC), while it has also received a $15,000 grant from the Mosaic Company at around the same time.
“Credit for this playground really needs to go to the parents and the staff of King George, because the fundraising we did as the SCC only happened because they participated,” said Rachelle Grado, the SCC president. “Whether that was through monetary contributions, or volunteerism, or just spending their time.”
The playground fundraising was a major undertaking — the price tag for the equipment and landscaping was around $30,000. The SCC did a cost-sharing arrangement with Prairie South School Division, and were able this year to finish raising their half.
“Anything that can support outdoor activities, or where kids can play more, is just so vital,” Grado said. “And this is an area with a lot of kids. There’s a lot of schools around, and playgrounds, but this yard gets used a lot because it’s so central, and we have lots of options.”
“It’s been sheer joy, and not just from the kids,” said Jill Tressel, principal of King George School. “I mean, the kids are loving it, but the parents, too. And after hours, things don’t stop here. If you were to drive by, you’d think we were holding activities every day, so this is not just for our students, but the whole community.”
The playground’s completion was a happy announcement, followed quickly by another one — King George School is one of 10 schools in the province to receive a Mosaic School Nutrition Challenge grant of $15,000.
“We were super excited to receive the (Mosaic School Nutrition Challenge) grant,” Tressel said. “We put in an application, again thinking about our student wellness, and the conversation was around ensuring all students have access to healthy breakfast items or a snack.
“We’re a very full school — which is great — so there isn’t a lot of space to do something like a breakfast program, so we did some creative problem solving around possibly setting up individual stations in each classroom.”
The Mosaic School Nutrition Challenge is a provincial contest organized by the Saskatchewan School Boards Association that “encourages grassroots initiatives to promote student nutrition and healthier school environments through nutrition-related activities and programming.”
Tressel said the grant would enable King George School to install mini fridges in each classroom next year. Older students at the school will be involved in menu planning, restocking, budgeting, inventory tracking, and possibly even grocery shopping for the fridges, giving them another learning practical learning opportunity.
“We’ll have some fresh fruit options, items like granola bars, we might look at being able to make toast, and we’ll change it up so the kids stay interested,” Tressel added.
“This way, students will have access to a snack or breakfast item when they need it, and not just at an assigned, before-school time. We can’t wait to see if that helps with learning, as well as attention and overall wellness.”