Upon officially cutting the ribbon at Gateway-Longview’s Lynde School on Main Street in Williamsville, hundreds of children swarmed the brand new playground ready to PLAY 60.
The project, funded by the Buffalo Bills Youth Foundation and other organizations including Kelly for Kids, began two years ago. The goal of the build was to create a safe environment where students would be able to be active and have fun, keeping the PLAY 60 mission alive.
“We mainly had our older kids on this campus, and when we brought out kindergarteners back to this campus, they need to be playing on a playground, and we didn’t have anything that was appropriate for them to play on,” said Tim Girard, Gateway Longview Vice President of Educational Services. “We needed an outdoor space so that we could get them outside.”
The new, state-of-the-art playground will enable students to reap the benefits of playing and recreation. The project was inspired by seeing the need and demand of the young students who have unlimited potential but need support.
“Combining the physical movement and social component that is found in playgrounds; the sharing, giving and taking develops everyone into a more complete person,” said Renee Filip, Director on the board of the Children’s Guild Foundation.
The playground includes slides, rock climbing walls and climbing structures, swings, monkey bars and more.
The children were beyond excited to finally use the playground, as many hope they will use it as a learning tool along their journey.
“Learning to play appropriately is the first way that we teach children social skills,” stated Girard. “It will teach how to get along with each other, how to cooperate, share, take turns etc. All of those skills are critical skills for the future development of kids.”
“They were very enthusiastic. The anticipation was almost as if they were opening a package,” said Filip. “Watching them jump, smile, working their bodies and expressing themselves was truly amazing.”
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