November 10, 2012 in Washington Voices

Students rock the toy vote

Children choose new playground equipment
By The Spokesman-Review
 
Lisa Leinberger photo

Kindergartner Mason Koestner climbs the new rock wall at Pasadena Park Elementary School Thursday.
(Full-size photo)

Children at Pasadena Park in the West Valley School District ran around in the sunshine Thursday morning. Some played on the school’s big blue slide and some got a chance to climb on the playground’s newest addition, a rock wall.

The wall was purchased for the school by the Parent Teacher Organization, which raises funds year-round for various items for the school, such as SmartBoards and books for the library.

“I can’t even tell you all the things they have bought,” Principal Robyn Davis said of the PTO. “They are just totally generous with their support for the school.”

The playground equipment at Pasadena is pretty old.

“I don’t think it’s the original equipment, but they come close,” Davis said.

The school was built in 1958 and hasn’t had too many upgrades to its playground equipment. The PTO purchased a couple of toys for the younger students two years ago, a teeter-totter, two climbing toys – one painted like a school bus and the other like a fire truck – which are up closer to the building, and one toy with a big blue slide in the bigger playground.

The new rock wall has a blue slide, too, and handholds along the wall for children to scramble up. “They’re horribly expensive,” Davis said. The new toy cost $16,000, plus the cost of installation.

Students picked the rock wall from four options.

“They got to use their voice and vote,” Davis said.

The vote took place last spring. The rock wall was installed in early September.

Davis said the school has been teaching students about making choices after studying the facts, including taking part in West Valley’s mock election.

“(They are using) the skills and dispositions they need to live and work and play in a democracy,” Davis said.

But voting for a toy they will play on every day was much more fun.

“Voting on a toy is extremely meaningful for elementary kids,” she said.

PTO volunteer Chari Reed said the group tries to do something once a month for students and their families and tries to think of different ways to serve the school. While they purchase SmartBoards for some classrooms, the purchase of the rock wall was special.

“It’s something that will affect all the children,” Reed said.

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