Founders’ Story- Dr. Melinda Bossenmeyer, Ed.D.
Celebrating 20 Years — 1998 & Beyond
It all started while serving as Principal at E. Hale Curran Elementary School in Murrieta, California. Dr. Melinda Bossenmeyer, Ed.D. put in to use a program designed to get more children involved in physical activity rather than waiting in line for their turn or just standing around talking while on the playground.
Teachers and recess monitors immediately saw the tenor of the playground change. Student involvement was overwhelming and the atmosphere changed from one chaotic energy to calm focused cooperation. There was a dramatic reduction in playground injuries and as activities spread out, with students making use of a larger play area, stress and conflict due to what was perceived as overcrowding declined.
Dr. Bossenmeyer made a commitment at that point to expose more schools, more teachers, and more children to the benefits of her program—Peaceful Playgrounds.
It was in 1998, through her understanding of physical activities and infrastructure of the playground, Dr. Bossenmeyer developed the components that would make up the first Peaceful Playgrounds® program to be manufactured and distributed to K-8 schools. The impact was immediate and word started to spread about the benefits. In April of that year, Family Circle magazine featured Peaceful Playgrounds in its Editor’s column.
In 1999 the accolades and recognition increase when Peaceful Playgrounds received the prestigious Sharing Success Award from New York State. In addition, E. Hale Current Elementary School, where it all started, received the State of California’s Golden Bell Award for school-safety.
The year 2000 saw the introduction of the Peaceful Playgrounds Programs Kit. This first kit included stencils, activity guides, blueprints, playgrounds injury reporting forms, playground reports and an overview video.
By 2003, Peaceful Playgrounds was on the move, literally. Having outgrown their offices in Canyon Lake, California they relocated to Los Angeles to allow for more office space and warehousing. This same year also marked the publishing of “Play Nice” the company’s monthly newsletter. The awards kept coming as Peaceful Playgrounds received the Gold Bell Award for Excellence in Education School Safety from the California School Boards Association.
What does any successful company do? It incorporates. In 2004 Peaceful Playgrounds, Inc. was formed. Branching out from strictly educational facilities, into public parks and early childhood centers, Peaceful Playgrounds was recognized with a Friend of Recreation Award for meritorious contribution benefiting American Association for Leisure and Recreation.
More followed in 2006 when the “We Count” Pedometer Walking Program Curriculum went full speed ahead and received the National Promising Practices Award from Promising Practices in After School (PPAS). In 2007, listening to requests of educators, administrators, and students, Peaceful Playgrounds ventured into Instructional Games DVD’s and created new Recess Roll Out Stencils. The Recess Blog was launched to offer valuable insight and information to visitors. Online training and special webinars were added to the website making it easy and convenient for fostering support for educators and administrators.
In 2009, Peaceful Playgrounds moved their offices to Lake Elsinore, California to a larger facility. This location helped expand Peaceful Playgrounds line of products to bring their successful tools direct to families with retail mats and games designed for home use.
2018 marks the 20 Year Anniversary of Peaceful Playgrounds!
The Peaceful Playgrounds Foundation looks forward to partnering with funders and sponsors to help “ensure youth of all races, income levels, and abilities have a fun, educational, safe play environment and the opportunity to be happy, healthy, active, positive, and productive.” Join our email list to receive our “Play Nice” newsletter that includes information to support healthy active kids, recess and free play, a safe play environment along with grant resources and “20 Year Anniversary” specials.
As of today, Peaceful Playgrounds can be found in over 8,000 schools with more than 4 million children being exposed to the benefits of the Peaceful Playgrounds programs and products.
Cheers to 20+ more years!