September 2009

By Jeb
Chicago Tribune – Highland Park, IL

playground games from PEP Grant

North Shore School District physical education teachers Josh Funke (far left) and Kevin Shanahan (far right) instructs a group of elementary school children on one of the playground games, while Superintendent David Behlow (black shirt) looks on.

Elementary school playgrounds in North Shore School District 112 have changed colors over the summer thanks to a two-year Carol A. White PEP Grant  for improving physical fitness for students in grades kindergarten through fifth, each of the eight District 112 elementary school playgrounds has been painted with colorful shapes and lines.

These shapes are the foundation for Peaceful Playgrounds used in third through fifth grades, and Fundamental Movement for grades kindergarten through second.

Children will also be able to enjoy the activities during lunch time recess as well, where they can utilize their own leadership and conflict resolution skills while playing with others.

The new playgrounds come as District 112 elementary schools institute daily physical education, an Illinois state mandate.

Daily physical education is grounded in research that shows physical activity goes hand in hand with student wellness and achievement.

Combined with the Peaceful Playgrounds program and equipment, students will be more engaged with physical movement and equipped with the skills to work and play well with others as well as resolve potential conflicts.

Last year, the nearly $200,000 grant provided District 112 physical education teachers with laptops, iTouches, computer projectors, and a wide array of physical education equipment to begin the two-year grant process.

The PEP Grant has been enhanced and supported by community partnerships with Highland Park Hospital, North Shore Special Education District and the Highland Park Recreation Center.

Chicago Tribune – Peaceful Playgrounds Create Colorful Backdrop for Engaging Physical Activities