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ArlingtonUpdates to Randolph Elementary playground add learning opportunities

Updates to Randolph Elementary playground add learning opportunities

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Regular physical activity is essential to help children build strong muscles and bones, improve fine motor skills, focus better in the classroom and maintain mental health.

To help promote such activity, students and staff at Randolph Elementary School on Oct. 28 held a ribbon-cutting event to celebrate the completion of new educational blacktop art that encourages outdoor play.

Healthy Community Action Team (HCAT) Arlington received funding from Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth and Arlington Foundation for Families and Youth to cover the cost of the project and hire a local artist to paint the blacktop murals at Randolph and Carlin Springs elementaries, which are designated as Title 1 schools for having a large segment of the student population receiving free or reduced-price lunches.

“We are really excited to be able to bring some fun and color to these schoolyards and encourage more outdoor physical activity for the students during the school day,” said Mary Sanders, HCAT Arlington’s coordinator.
“With the pandemic and increased screen time, kids are much more sedentary, and this project will help encourage active movement and outdoor play,” she said.

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HCAT Arlington works on projects and initiatives to decrease childhood obesity rates throughout Arlington, and was a founding member of Arlington Living Schoolyard Initiative (ALSI), which works to ensure Arlington students have access to outdoor-learning opportunities on their schoolyards.

“The Randolph Elementary community is so grateful for and proud to have the artwork painted by artist Briam Montenegro – a dream come true for our school,” said Randolph principal Carlos Ramirez. “Our playground now has six different educational designs painted on both blacktops for students to reinforce their learning of letters, numbers, the planets, etc., as they play purposefully during recess.”

“As an International Baccalaureate school, we welcome all community members and organizations, such as HCAT, who contribute to our students’ being lifelong learners and global citizens,” Ramirez said.

The student reaction was even more enthusiastic.

“This is cool! I’m gonna run on the rocks next to Mars!” said second-grader J.C. Watts, discussing one of the painted murals featuring the solar system on the blacktop.

For more on Healthy Community Action Team Arlington, see the Website at https://hcatarlington.com/.

Students enjoy the new playground facilities at Randolph Elementary School.
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