By Paul Boerger

Mount Shasta News
September 2003

The Mount Shasta Elementary School playground has been recently transformed by a group of parents and citizens from the old style run around and see what happens play yard into a colorful, organized and Peaceful Playground.

With approximately $1,700 from the local fund-raising group Partners in Education and many volunteers, the playground is now painted with a variety of learning games, well spaced to avoid conflict.

The games include bean bag tosses, hopping, jumping and running, all with either the alphabet, numbers or geometric shapes.

“We used the Peaceful Playground concept.” Said Jean Nels. “The company provides blue prints, stencils and instructions for the games we painted on the blacktop. The kids learn gross motor skills, spell words and learn numbers and counting.”

Peaceful Playground is a California company that designs and sells educational, creative designs that results in a safe playground.

According to the company, playgrounds need games and activities that have a consistent set of rules, solutions to conflicts, well marked game lines and boundaries, available equipment and consistent expectations. A training program is also included with the package.

Nels says conflict resolution is an important part of the program.

“We encourage paper, rock, scissors as the first step,” Nels said. “If the kids still can’t resolve the program, they go to the resolution place painted on the playground.”

The station has two sets of foot prints on opposite sides of three numbered spots topped by a smiley face.

“The first step is where they state the problem,” Nels said. “When there is agreement they move to number two where they try to find a solution. At number three, both agree on the solution and then they shake hands at the smiley face.”

Many local businesses contributed to the effort including Ace Hardware, Pepsi-Cola Bottling, CCDA Waters, Burger King and Mount Shasta Supermarket.

Volunteers included Jean Nels, Leslie Marconi, Nancy Harmon, Julie Bennett, Jane McKenzie, Mary Alice Haistings, Karen Poore, Cassandra Toews, Cece Carter, Trish Spence, Kathy Hansen, Angelica Arredondo, Brett Hough, Amy Fisher, Rebeka Rentschler, Janis Laiancona, Jeff Holmquist, Tim Loughlin, Lynn Lujan, Maria Ribera, Diane Ricci, Tasha Churchill, Julie Titus, J.R. Wareing, Rae Jean Wareing, Janet Rainville, Karee Barham, Heidi George, Mike Kaseboom and Tina Graedel.