New playground equipment caters to mission to get students back outside

MILLSBORO, Del. – Virtual learning is a concept that’s become no stranger to students over the past year. However, now with students back in the classroom, we’re told their time outside is much more appreciated, and needed.

“When I ask kids what is the best part of your day, nine times out of ten they tell me recess,” says Principal of Long Neck Elementary School, Kathleen Wilson. She adds, “Anytime they can spend outside and off of a device is going to give their brain a little break.”

Principal Wilson says, although students are resilient, play is a child’s work and it’s important to foster that in and out of school.

“Just a better way to build healthy habits and healthy mindsets and when they do have to be positioned in front of a device, they’re more ready to do it, they’re more ready to receive it.”

On Monday, the elementary school held a ribbon-cutting which not only commemorated the new equipment but continues the mission to get kids outside.

After almost half a decade of fundraising efforts Long Neck Elementary school, we’re told they raised $90,000 for the new playground equipment. School officials say it wouldn’t just improve safety, but provide a better future for their students.

“This is where they learn to socialize, where they learn to follow rules and I just think it’s wonderful that these kids have this playground to do that,” says PTO President, Jennifer Harrison. She adds, “It’s great to see that the kids were actually able to enjoy it, it’s been a long time coming.”

School officials also tell 47 ABC, with their growing population this playground was just what they needed, and the community support behind the efforts was a bonus.

“The community shows so much and makes them know that they care and that they’re here for them,” says former PTO President, Mary Wilkins. She adds, “Today was very emotional seeing all the kids and the thank you notes that we also received from the kids.”

Principal Wilson says, she wanted to hold a ceremony so students could see exactly what goes into making their school a better place.

“To be able to see that this doesn’t come from nothing, this comes from the efforts of many and by being able to allow them to put a face to all of our donors,” says Principal Wilson. She adds, “I just feel that when they see them out in the community, they’re going to remember them being here today.”

We’re also told, the community coming together to show so much support for the youth, shouldn’t stop here. Principal Wilson says,

“When you can, if you can, do what you can for the service of students, for the service of children in general.” She adds, “When these kids are grown and out of this school, they’re going to be taking care of all of us so the way we treat them and take care of them and foster this care of them now is going to be huge for us.”

Principal Wilson also tells us, the school is planning to install benches outside as part of an outdoor classroom to receive tactical learning and exercise. We’re also told there were over 15 donors from the community that helped fund this project.

Playground Donors: Long Neck Deli, Captain’s Pizza, Grotto Pizza, Ocean Grill Diner, Long Neck Rotary Club, Grace United Methodist Church, Long Neck Snowball Stand, Nana’s Kids Organization, Long Neck United Methodist Church, JT Rogers Marine Construction, Community Bank Delaware, Arena’s Long Neck, Mountaire Farms, McDonald’s Long Neck, SoDel Cares, Baywood Green

PTO Individuals: Mary Wilkins, Jennifer Harrison, Kris Dellinger, Rose Coulter, Megan Gray, Colleen Baker

Categories: Delaware, Education, Local News