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17 March 2010 @ 06:50 pm
Does a playground matter?  
You have a choice of two schools to send you child for elementary school.

A) Walking distance. Probably has better education (let's say the test scores are higher and it has slightly better reviews). This school has no playground at all. It is just a vacant asphalt lot.

B) Not within walking distance. Decent education. Amazing play yards for the children.

So which one do you pick? Does it matter that your child has a play ground at school?
scongiolososcongioloso on March 18th, 2010 12:03 am (UTC)
I think having a playground is important. It's good for the kids to be able to take a break during the day and go out and play and run around.

I wouldn't compare playground for playground as much as playground vs. no playground though.

If the other school doesn't have ANYTHING outdoors for the kids, I would want to know why. Do they have a great gym program for the kids? Do they allow indoor activities? etc.

Katkatsiss on March 18th, 2010 12:08 am (UTC)
.modestmichelle on March 18th, 2010 12:11 am (UTC)
Lady Sakura Leimkiero on March 18th, 2010 12:11 am (UTC)
They can have 2 amazing playgrounds but if they only use it once a week it isn't worth it. Find out their stance on recess. The more recess and play the better the education is going to be in early elementary years since kids learn the most through play not sitting behind desks doing paperwork.
Elainemisselaineeous on March 18th, 2010 12:14 am (UTC)
I place education as more important then play space. You can always enroll your child in sports or take them to the park after school or on weekends to compensate but you can't necessarily provide a school level education at home.

Also keep in mind that having a school within walking distance means that school friends will also be in the area making less need to ferry the children around.
oes school A provide programs (i.e open gym time or other activities) to compensate for the fact that they have no play area?
I wonder if you're mythologizing me like I do youuppity_heathen on March 18th, 2010 01:29 am (UTC)
The school close by in our situation is a magnet school so the kids will be from all over the city and even as far as the county. Even the regular schools here have kids from all over because we have a desegregation program that buses white kids into the city schools. I never thought about it but it might be difficult for my daughter to make friends because of this. I don't drive and getting to friends who don't live in our neighborhood will often be impossible.

(Deleted comment)
I wonder if you're mythologizing me like I do youuppity_heathen on March 18th, 2010 12:21 am (UTC)
Lol. There is a big difference between playing in a crowded parking lot and playing on a playground.
(Deleted comment)
felizlahdedahguaparella on March 18th, 2010 12:46 am (UTC)
"That was a playground when I was a kid."
But you're totes old, dude.
Lady Sakura Leimkiero on March 18th, 2010 12:52 am (UTC)
I take it you grew up around a city too. Most of the playgrounds I played on were asphalt lots. It wasn't until we moved truly to the suburbs that we saw schools with playgrounds with wood chips, rubber chips, or grass.

Given the comment below I must be really old too... funny how I get nasty comments for being too young to have kids at 27.
elizabethann40elizabethann40 on March 18th, 2010 03:30 am (UTC)
thismakebelievethismakebelieve on March 18th, 2010 12:54 am (UTC)
deathjoydeathjoy on March 18th, 2010 02:19 am (UTC)
Herkko Rosvo-Ronkainenmissingkeys on March 18th, 2010 11:28 am (UTC)
I completely agree.

Also, chalk is cheap. This increases the possibilities immensely.
(Deleted comment)
I wonder if you're mythologizing me like I do youuppity_heathen on March 18th, 2010 01:06 am (UTC)
Oddly enough it does look like Crunchem Hall.
kooky haberdashery for the richsueg on March 18th, 2010 01:06 am (UTC)
I pick School A, join the PTA and start fundraising for a playground.
I wonder if you're mythologizing me like I do youuppity_heathen on March 18th, 2010 01:10 am (UTC)
They'd have to tear down some buildings... I was shocked at the bleakness of the whole thing. It is a really old school. I have heard good things about it but cannot get past the fact that there is really nowhere outside for the kids to go.
kooky haberdashery for the richsueg on March 18th, 2010 01:28 am (UTC)
You said there was an empty asphalt lot?
I wonder if you're mythologizing me like I do youuppity_heathen on March 18th, 2010 01:31 am (UTC)
Yes but it is really small and I assume some people park there. I may be wrong though. I will have to see it on a regular school day. I have only seen it after hours and on weekends. I assume the employees park there.

I think there is a contest going on that will give three schools here playgrounds. I wish this place was in the running.
Georgiemummygeorgie on March 18th, 2010 06:27 am (UTC)
My kids go to an inner-city school - although I'm from Perth, Australia, which is pretty small town compared to major US cities - and back when I went there 20 years ago, there was an asphalt parking lot with basketball nets/marking on, and a small grassed area. The parking lot was only in use before/after school for pickups/dropoffs, no cars during the day. We had a lot of fun on that asphalt lot :)

But now the school has decreased its land area (sold some off for housing) but actually improved its playspaces. It now has no onsite parking bar a small lot for staff only. There's a 'kiss and drive' for dropping kids off, and other than that parents need to park on the street. For the kindergarten and pre-primary children, there is a small fenced grassed area with removable play equipment (the type ppl might have in their backyard - small slide, balls, pogo sticks and scooters).

I'd definitely go take a look on a school day to see what the kids are doing, but walking distance is a HUGE plus for me. I don't drive either :)
kooky haberdashery for the richsueg on March 18th, 2010 07:22 am (UTC)
FWIW I think I'd still choose school A unless we visited both schools and my child/I preferred the other based on factors in addition to the playground. I'd also find out what school A does for break times if they don't go outside - maybe they have gym activities.
Nicolesblmnldrknss on March 18th, 2010 01:13 am (UTC)
A. There will be time outside of school for playing.
I wonder if you're mythologizing me like I do youuppity_heathen on March 18th, 2010 01:16 am (UTC)
Isn't a lot of kindergarten and elementary school about play? I really am stumped here on this one. I did not realize there were so many elementary schools with no play space but a lot of them around here have nothing.
Nicolesblmnldrknss on March 18th, 2010 01:20 am (UTC)
Play, yes. But not specifically outside play, especially not in an urban situation.
A lot of "play" happens in the classroom.
And I will also say... there's a fair bit of play time in kindergarten, but by first grade its cut back sharply, in my experience.
I wonder if you're mythologizing me like I do youuppity_heathen on March 18th, 2010 01:26 am (UTC)
I don't really remember elementary school other than moving during the first grade and listening to books on tape but I do remember all the playgrounds. haha. Perhaps they were detrimental to my education.

I grew up in a small town and moved to the city so I guess that is one drawback. No playgrounds.
Nicolesblmnldrknss on March 18th, 2010 01:33 am (UTC)
I do remember first grade. My mom worked at my elementary school, so I actually have pretty vivid memories. We played outside for about 20 minutes a day, and sometimes PE was outside, but that's all. Everything else was in classroom or in the "specials" rooms.

And now I have a son in second grade, and yea, not much outside time in his experience.
Corbyforbiddenpluto on March 18th, 2010 02:38 am (UTC)
Nope. Not really anymore. When I taught kindergarten we were allotted 15 minutes for recess a day. If we added any more we got in trouble. They also got on to us when we took time from the day for any type of parties be it birthday or holiday driven.

Times have changed.
I wonder if you're mythologizing me like I do youuppity_heathen on March 18th, 2010 02:54 am (UTC)
Makes me want to homeschool.
.modestmichelle on March 18th, 2010 01:51 pm (UTC)
The Great Gilly Hopkinsgetmeoutofhere on March 18th, 2010 06:54 pm (UTC)
Wow, 15 minutes? Yikes. In which state did you teach? Was there physical education or any other opportunity for physical play? I taught for two years in CA and the kids got more than 15 minutes.
ol_whatshername: Fisgigol_whatshername on March 18th, 2010 01:37 am (UTC)
Maybe because I am Canadian and we have universal education and all schools have playgrounds, but I think I would go playground because I could home school my kid in some extra things or put them in an evening activitiy to even it out.
medea34 on March 18th, 2010 02:16 am (UTC)
my elementary school had a huge vacant lot. there was pavement with hopscotch and kingscross painted on it, a vast wasteland of gravel and nothing else. we spent lots of time running around, playing ball (dodgeball, soccer, catch) and using our imagination (these lines in the dirt = a castle, that pile of rubble = the base camp, etc).

some city schools have their playground on roof tops. a huge amount of space and equipment isn`t neccessary.

i wouldn`t underestimate the benefits of being able to walk to school (fitness, increased feeling of community, smaller carbon foot print, less likely to get hurt in a car accident in crazy rush hour traffic....)
I wonder if you're mythologizing me like I do youuppity_heathen on March 18th, 2010 02:20 am (UTC)
We won't be driving either way because I don't drive. I always walked to school, too. I loved it.

I am finding out that almost all the old schools here have nothing. I did not see any hop scotch lines or anything. it looked depressing to me.

medea34 on March 26th, 2010 12:41 pm (UTC)
bottom line - don't send your kid somewhere that you don't feel comfortable with. depressing is a far step from vacant, and if they can't be bothered to paint some hopscotch lines (an easy, cheerful fix that is really cheap) they might not be putting enough priority on play.
Corbyforbiddenpluto on March 18th, 2010 02:41 am (UTC)
Definitely A.

Magnet schools are (usually) phenomenal. I wouldn't risk my child's education for a playground. The big bonus of a magnet school is that they hand pick their students. AKA. less behavior problems and generally a more active parent.

I'm in the opposite boat. I either send my daughter to the school 5 miles up the road or I trek 35 miles in to the magnet school daily. She's going to be tested for the magnet next month.
I wonder if you're mythologizing me like I do youuppity_heathen on March 18th, 2010 03:05 am (UTC)
The school I really want to send her to is a couple miles away and is also a magnet school. Unfortunately it is difficult to get white kids into magnet schools unless they are from the county or within walking distance of the school. I am actually considering moving to the neighborhood with the amazing magnet school.

The one close to me with no play ground is brand new and they are keeping all the old teachers so I am a little nervous about that.

Good luck with the testing! Our schools are so awful here that I would never consider sending her to a non-magnet school.
si_anenomesi_anenome on March 18th, 2010 03:07 am (UTC)
A, join the PTA & fundraise like hell to get money for a playground.
si_anenomesi_anenome on March 18th, 2010 07:39 am (UTC)
Lol... just saw someone else with this same answer.

...difficult to get white kids into magnet schools... Where on earth are you living? That is a bizarre statement.
I wonder if you're mythologizing me like I do youuppity_heathen on March 18th, 2010 01:29 pm (UTC)
White kids from the city get last preference. White kids from the county get first preference.
I wonder if you're mythologizing me like I do youuppity_heathen on March 18th, 2010 01:32 pm (UTC)
I should explain... white kids from the county are bused in while the black kids from the city are bused to county schools so white kids from the county get first preference for the desegregation program. So it's more difficult to get white children who live in the city into the schools. The have numbers to maintain.
mamiecaissemamiecaisse on March 18th, 2010 09:17 am (UTC)
Time spent outside is more important to me than playground equipment. As much as I prefer grass to asphalt, here it rains so much that the grass gets muddy and the kids often end up preferring the asphalt anyway. As long as the kids are getting an equal amount of recess time, I'd go with school A. Walking distance or at least on a bus route is important to me as well - we have just one car that my husband takes to work and I need to be able to get to my kids in an emergency. My oldest daughter's school is about a 20 minute walk (she takes the bus to school, but there is no regular line that goes that way if I need to get there during the day). That is about my upper limit on distance without a car or bus option - I have neighbors/friends I can call on in a pinch, but I like knowing that for the most part I can get there if I need to.

donkeymoodonkeymoo on March 18th, 2010 11:05 am (UTC)
i guess if A had awesome equipment (trikes, removable swinging stuff, removeable climbing frames, obstacle course pieces, rolling mats, removable play basketball hoops, removeable soccer goal type things etc etc etc) that teachers set up for sports times or outdoor play times, then it would make up for not having the space for permanent climbing/playing equipment. find out what their physical education program is like.
Corbyforbiddenpluto on September 22nd, 2010 12:39 am (UTC)
Wasn't this asked a while ago?
I wonder if you're mythologizing me like I do youuppity_heathen on September 22nd, 2010 12:41 am (UTC)
This post is 6 months old and you are commenting to complain that it was just recently asked?
Corbyforbiddenpluto on September 22nd, 2010 12:47 am (UTC)
Sorry, it's still on the front page. I didn't even look at the post date. Whoops!