At Monday’s Selectmen’s meeting in Plympton, Debbie Grace, a Silver Lake Integrated Preschool Teacher’s Assistant who has been making rounds of the Silver Lake towns updated the Board on the progress of the privately funded regional playground conceived for the preschool.
Silver Lake Integrated Preschool (SLIP), located at Kingston Elementary School, was created in 1989 to serve the needs of the Silver Lake School District. The program has 107 students. made up of 17 families from Plympton, 17 from Halifax, and the remainder from Kingston. Many have special needs, making a safe place to play with their peers a necessity.
With students of all abilities from ages 2-5, and no proper playground for this age group on site, volunteers (both parents and teachers) recognized an opportunity to fill this need by forming a committee to raise the funds necessary to fund the project.
Approved by the Kingston Selectmen as well as the Silver Lake Regional School Board, the organizers started with a $12,000 grant from the Sampson Fund in Kingston. Originally setting a goal to raise $50,000, they raised nearly all of this in several days. The volunteers realized that they had incredible community support, as further grants and donations came in.
Setting their goals higher, they raised their budget to between $150,000-$200,000 in order to build a 2,900 square foot playground. It will be fully ADA compliant, including access ramps to the main structure and swings that can accommodate wheelchairs, even for paraplegics.
The “floor” of the playground will be made of a rubber-based material, allowing children with stability issues to use the playground– which is nearly as expensive as the playground structure itself, but necessary, according to Grace.
The latest grant the organizers applied for would add a sensory skill and dramatic play element to the structure, allowing teachers and therapists to bring lessons outside.
Although no public money is being used for the project, the playground will be open to the community outside of school hours. It will be located on the west side of Kingston Elementary School. The Selectmen enthusiastically have expressed support for the project in both Plympton and Halifax.
For more information, see “Do You Want To Build a Playground?” on Facebook, where you can find links to the project’s GoFundMe site. The playground will tentatively open Spring, 2016.