Warwood Needs New Playgrounds for Kids

To the Editor:

Our kids are playing less than any previous generation. Research has shown that only one in four adolescents get the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity or active play per day, with the number of younger kids only slightly higher. Because of this, they are increasingly unhappy, unhealthy and falling behind: One in three kids is obese or overweight and one in five kids has a mental illness.

Moreover, our kids are not developing critical 21st century skills — such as collaboration, creativity, problem-solving, resilience and empathy — that they will need to succeed as adults in the global economy. Stress is one of the major barriers to healthy development.

In particular, low-income families and children face many structural obstacles to play. For example, declining recess, a lack of safe places to play, overly-structured schedules, too early specialization, and too much screen time have all replaced balanced and active play. That is why the City of Wheeling Parks and Recreation is partnering up with Warwood School to solicit funds to create two new playgrounds that will be utilized by both students and the local community. These playgrounds will be located at Garden Park and Warwood School.

– It’s important that we address all children and provide opportunities to play. The Warwood School playground will be geared toward the kindergarten-second grade age group.

– Warwood Garden Park playground will be geared toward older children. Both facilities will be available for public and school use, and will be ADA accessible.

– We will build a safe place to play, connect with nature, develop social skills, and increase overall health and wellness. These would be essential building blocks for their future success.

– Free play is something that families and children experience less and less as electronics take priority.

– We are also aware that a safe place to play is vital to any community, teaches kids how to interact within a group, solve conflicts and strengthen bonds.

– Warwood School has already seen some the benefits of recess activity in improved focus and academic success. Nature is the perfect classroom, and playgrounds can be used to teach everything from science and math to vocabulary and poetry.

– We are currently looking for volunteers and sponsors who can assist us in our efforts to create two strong community playgrounds that would reach a diverse range of ages and kids. We know that with your help, we can make our playground plans a reality.

Thank you for assisting in our efforts to build playgrounds in Warwood. Our children appreciate it.

If you are interested in assisting with our efforts by donating or volunteering please give us a call at 304-243-0375.

M. Andy Garber

Warwood Playground Committee