New playgrounds teach State College students the importance of nature

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STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (WTAJ) — Three elementary schools in the State College Area School District have introduced a new playground which teaches students about the importance of nature.

“Why waste nature when you can just use it for other reasons,” asks Medha Kothapalli, a third grader at Radio Park Elementary School.

Students couldn’t think of a better way to use reuse resources from nature than to build a playground outside their elementary school. Between holiday breaks and remote learning, it’s been awhile since students have had a proper recess.

“I don’t think students realized how much they loved school until they couldn’t come in person,” says Deirdre Bauer, the principal at Radio Park.

Plus, three elementary schools in State College have been under construction over the last several years. But with that came new and improved playgrounds for Radio Park, as well as Spring Creek and Corl Street, envisioned by the minds of young learners.

“The school board asked that kids draw pictures of what they would like in the playground, and swings and slides were in the top two,” says Bauer.

All of the equipment incorporates elements of Earth. Tree limbs hold up swing sets, log mounds form a climbing area, and trunks create a maze for students to twist through.

It’s a lesson in sustainability for Michael Kufner, a third grader at Radio Park.

“My dad’s an architect and i know it’s good to use natural resources instead of just plastic and metal,” says Kufner.

Radio Park recess paraprofessional Priska Gunadi say it’s also a way for students to be creative.

“I feel like it builds their motor skills and imagination as well,” says Gunadi.

Students have welcomed the new addition with open arms, thankful they have a safe way to play with their friends

“Everybody likes the equipment, especially me,” says Hannah Coark, a third grader at Radio Park.

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