Brookwood Elementary School in the Clear Creek Independent School District recently unveiled a new playground where students and the community can gather. Operation Playground began two years ago when a dedicated committee of parents, staff and community members was formed with the goal of building a safe, innovative and cost-efficient place to play.
The research began by first surveying students to find out what they would want most in their new playground. The number one response, with slides and a merry-go-round falling close behind, was that they wanted a swing set. With safety at the forefront of the plans, the committee looked into the possible regulations and restrictions of bringing in swings and found that there was nothing preventing them from fulfilling the students’ wishes.
Research also revealed swings and other movable play components have positive effects on foundational and fine motor skills. “The research that has been done by the team at Brookwood is not only beneficial for outdoor fun, but also beneficial for student achievement indoors,” said CCISD Superintendent Dr. Greg Smith. “This project is more than just a playground, it is direct reflection of our mission in the district to be leaders in visionary education and our commitment to personalized learning and innovation. I hope the work done here will inspire others.”
After creating a foundation and design for the fully-customized playground, it was time to build it. Donations from the Brookwood PTA, the school student council, individual families, and area businesses provided the necessary funding. The school held a “Community Build” where parents, staff and community volunteers helped with installing different components of the playground, such as ramps to make it wheelchair accessible, which saved the project $15,000.
“We are so appreciative of all the hard work, dedication and support from the committee members, volunteers and our community to make Operation Playground a huge success,” said Brookwood Elementary Principal Ann Arrington. “We now have a unique, one-of-a-kind play space which students and the rest of the community can enjoy and benefit from for many years to come.” Students have already shown their appreciation for their new playground in the form of letters to the committee. Brookwood is also opening it up for families to visit on the weekends.