The Herald Times by Mary Keck

Marlin Elem School

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — Visit Marlin Elementary School during recess and you’ll see kids hopping across yellow, blue and red numbers, letters and symbols on the blacktop, their shoes hitting each foot printed on the pavement or stopping on numbers. It is part of the Peaceful Playgrounds Program.  Students can be found bouncing balls on numbered squares, tossing bean bags across a line or trying their hands at tether ball.

As a result of new games — like an alphabet grid painted across the pavement, where kids spell out words while they hop from square to square — the swings, slides and monkey bars at Marlin haven’t seen as much action lately. Instead, the kids have been trying out Peaceful Playground games the school rolled out in November.

“Before this, you didn’t see this much engagement,” said Nick McGinnis, Marlin principal, as he stood on the playground during a second- and third-grade recess.

Engagement is exactly what the Peaceful Playground is designed for, and it’s the reason the school sought a $5,000 grant from Action for Healthy Kids to get the materials and supplies to make it available.