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Chalk One Up - Playground Project Needs Volunteers
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An example of one of the many Holistic Playgrounds implemented and directed by Jan Reale on an elementary school campus. A team of staff, families and volunteers of Cloverland Elementary school will cover over 80 to 85 percent of the schools playground this weekend to do the exact same thing. - photo by Contributed

For the artist at heart or a community group looking for a way to leave their mark, Cloverland Elementary School may have just the project to fit that need. This Friday, Oct. 3 at 3 p.m. work will begin on the Holistic Playground project.

The project is expected to take two and a half days for a total of more than 20 hours.

The project will be led by veteran educator, Special Education volunteer and Holistic Playgrounds Unlimited founder Jan Reale.

“My former elementary school did this,” Cloverland Elementary Principal Larry Bonds said of Barry Elementary in Yuba City. “The results and feedback (of the playground) were amazing. It is a largely volunteer driven project. It adds character and ownership for the kids and the community.”

Holistic Playgrounds was created by Reale as part of her Master’s Thesis project years ago. With the aid of 40 to 60 volunteers, a blueprint of individual design, games and activities is transferred to 80 percent of the playground in chalk outline. The following step is to paint the design in bright and vibrant primary colors with asphalt paint.

“I’ve wanted to do this for a few years,” Bonds stated. “We’re a school that is continuing to try to add some color to our school. Get students excited about learning.”

According to Bonds, the use of the program incorporated onto the playground helps students to develop strength, endurance, flexibility, agility, coordination, balance and motor skills.

“The playground becomes an extension of learning from the classroom,” Bonds said. “It also promotes skills on how to cooperate, succeed, lead, follow and become responsible, creative, expressive and skilled individuals.”

Yet in order for it to all happen, the school needs willing hands.

“Jan said people just show up,” the principal shared. “I want to make sure that it’s a nice quality that looks like we’ve put our heart and soul into it.

“But it’s hard because people don’t come into school. My panic is that we won’t have enough hands.”

Due to the nature of the project and the detail required, the school was advised to take/accept volunteers from the grade level of sixth up to adults. Persons are encouraged to sign up for blocks of time or stay as long as possible to help aid the completion of the project.

“It’s not possible to have too many volunteers,” Bonds said. “Jan will be here all three days to oversee it.”

The project will begin Friday at 3 p.m. until dusk, which will be solely focused on the chalking of the playground. Come Saturday morning at 8 a.m. it will be full time work. From the hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday, volunteers will be put to the task of painting, mixing paints and working as a team to complete the project for school on Monday. Food and drinks will also be offered for volunteer help.

“The project is very family centered,” Bonds stated. “We ask that there not be young children, because of distractions to those volunteering and the concern of knocking paint over.”

For additional information or to offer volunteer help, call Cloverland Elementary at 847-4276 or e-mail Bonds directly at