Children at an Oxford primary school are engaging in various fundraising events to help them replace the condemned climbing frame in their school playground. A Health and Safety inspection deemed the climbing frame, which is ten years old, to be unfit for use, and a target of £10,000 has been set for its replacement.
The importance of physical activity
Children are full of energy and enjoy using the equipment at break times and lunch time. The climbing frame is not exclusively used by pupils at the school; it is also used by other children from Oxford during the regular Saturday East Oxford Farmers’ and Community Markets held at the school.
Head teacher Russell Kaye said that the equipment helped with the development of children’s’ motor skills, and the children themselves say that they find playtimes boring without the climbing frame to play on.
According to NHS guidelines children aged between 5 and 18 should perform a minimum of an hour of physical activity each day. Children’s climbing frames are ideal for the kind of activities that strengthen muscles and bones, such as swinging from bars, climbing and jumping. Children can also work on muscle strength without even realising it when they use the equipment to lift their body weight and improve balance as an everyday part of play.
Physical activity also protects against childhood obesity and can help children to concentrate better in lessons.
The fundraising effort
Children started raising funds for their new climbing frame last summer and have already raised £4,000. A wide range of play equipment is available from suppliers such as http://www.niclimbingframes.com/climbing-frames, and there are plans to provide a new adventure island for the school. Local people have been very supportive, realising that the school playground forms part of the local community.
One afternoon, the children raised more than £300 by collecting and helping with bag packing at the local Tesco store at Cowley Road. An International Food Fair is planned as an after-school event in April. Parents will be cooking a wide range of dishes from different world cuisines and serving them from 3:30 pm, which should swell the funds even further. A Just Giving page has also been set up.
If sufficient funds are raised, the school aims to install the new equipment during the half-term holiday in May.