The ribbon cutting ceremony marking the completion of the new Zolfo Springs Elementary school playground was held on Tuesday, Oct. 27. Thanks to funding from the Zolfo Springs Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) and a grant from The Mosaic Company for $40,000, more than 600 students in grades K-5 will be able to enjoy recess on a state-of-the-art playground constructed of durable, recyclable materials that can provide a wide range of climbing and sliding activities for roughly 90 students at a time.
School officials say the purpose of installing the new playground equipment is to inspire and instill a love of play, while at the same time increasing students’ physical fitness, overall happiness, health and chances for academic success.
“Active play helps the student community build social skills and confidence while playing together,” said Principal Melanie Henderson. “Additionally, playground interaction provides activities for cognitive development (which are) linked to students’ academic performance.”
A 2009 research study of 11,000 third graders showed that children who have more than 15 minutes of recess time per day are better behaved in class and are likely to learn more than peers who don’t.
Because of the new playground, students will have an opportunity to participate in all four areas of Florida’s new physical education standards – movement competency, cognitive abilities, lifetime fitness and responsible behaviors and values — on a daily basis.