Wednesday, June 17, 2015

A New Playground!

Every child has fond memories of playing in a playground at school or at a park near home. On a Monday in June, the Group Home children attending the Chunmiao Education Learning Center arrived to school to find a new 65-square meter playground where there had previously been an empty concrete space. The playground was planned and constructed by Sean, a 17-year old high school student from a local international school. Sean has been a Boy Scout for seven years.  Boy Scouts of America is an organization for boys aged 6 to 18 who learn through service, leadership, and outdoor activities. After beginning Boy Scouts in the US, Sean moved to China two years ago and joined a local Boy Scout troop in Beijing. To earn the highest rank of Eagle Scout, a scout must plan and lead a large service project. Sean began this project when he learned that the Little Flower Learning Center was moving to a new location which did not have any formal playground.

The Chunmiao Learning Center currently has 15 children ranging from 3 years old to 12 years old. The learning center provides individualized special education, rehabilitation and psychological services to disabled children. The school is based on the Montessori education model.

For this project, Sean needed to design a plan for the playground, fund-raise, purchase material, and then build the playground! He enlisted other scout volunteers to help him with the actual building of the project.

Sean raised over 3,000 USD to fund this project. He did a total of three bake sales at his school and church and asked family and friends to contribute funds for his service project. He actually ended up raising slightly more funds than he needed to build the project, and so with the extra funds he plans to buy other supplies that the students need at the school.

To build the actual playground, Sean first had to lay a matting, so the children would not hurt themselves while playing. He then constructed the three play structures: a log cabin, a castle, and a pirate ship-themed play structure. Lastly, Sean built a sandbox (2 meters by 2.5 meters) for the students to play in, and he built a fence around the play area to keep all the students safe. Sean really thought about everything in his plan! And we are so grateful for this new playground. The children are already enjoying playing on their new playground!

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