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St. Viator Adds a Peaceful Playground


The St. Viator Community continues to work creatively to provide a safe and interesting learning environment for our students. While supporting COVID-19 safety protocols, we are exploring different engaging innovations. The latest project was the installation of a Peaceful Playground “6’ Distancing Playground” in the north end of our parking lot.


Dr. Melinda Bossenmeyer modified the Peaceful Playground idea during last spring’s Shelter in Place orders. The idea was to keep recess in the school day by utilizing existing outdoor spaces, organized to provide students with play activities at safe social distances. The resulting “6’ Distancing Playground” modifies an existing outdoor space to create active, safely distanced recess time that school staff can easily monitor. Check them out at: https://peacefulplaygrounds.com/covid-19-distancing-playground/


The Peaceful Playgrounds Foundation writes on its website, “The mission of the Peaceful Playgrounds Foundation is to create a safe play environment, support healthy active kids, and advocate for recess and free play. We believe the benefits of free play are best accomplished by enhancing the play environment and allowing children lots of choices.”


Our Principal, Lisa Rieger connected with the vision of the Peaceful Playground Foundation: “Ensure youth of all races, income levels, and abilities have a fun, educational, safe play environment and the opportunity to be happy, healthy, active, positive, and productive.” As she noted in a recent newsletter, “Our Health & Safety team, our Pastor Fr.Pat Render, and our administrative staff all agreed that having a program that not only supported the CDC guidelines for social distancing but also mirrors our PeaceBuilders Program, will fit right in.” Recognizing the benefit to our recess and P.E. programs, she ordered the DIY playground kit. School parents were ready to take the supplies when they arrived and start installing!


“Ensure youth of all races, income levels, and abilities have a fun, educational, safe play environment and the opportunity to be happy, healthy, active, positive, and productive.” - Principal Lisa Rieger

All of the work happened on the weekend of October 10th, 2020. School parent Sara Yoest coordinated the parent volunteer effort and completed a chalking of the playground design with fellow parent Teresa Reid on Friday. The painting started early Saturday morning, with parent volunteers enjoying the fall weather and painting throughout the day. Our own Physical Education teacher, Coach Z, lent a hand as well!


Outdoor recess is a great chance for our students to get some fresh air and stretch after classroom learning. It is important under “normal” circumstances; arguably even more important now. The Peaceful Playground gives students activities to enjoy during their playtime while helping to keep them safe. Again, quoting from Principal Rieger, “This program will also encourage the outdoor engagement we are looking for with our students.” Coach Z will also utilize the playground for P.E. classes. Besides the activity spaces, the layout included painted bases for kickball & softball!


Taking the Peaceful Playground from an idea to a reality was a collaborative effort. Thanks go out to Principal Rieger, Marge Tiritilli, and Coach Z for the work they did secure the program and supplies. Many thanks also to all of the parent volunteers that gave their time and energy to get it done. And yep, students pitched in too! This is another great example of a St. Viator School community project.


Have you seen our new Peaceful Playground yet? Stop by the parking lot and check it out, then let us know what you think in the comments section. If you’re one of our enrolled families, be sure to ask your children what they think about the Peaceful Playground. This new addition to our school helps us keep students active outside, follow safety guidelines, and do as the Peaceful Playground Foundation suggests:

“Play nice. Play often.”


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St. Viator Elementary School

4140 W. Addison St.

Chicago, IL 60641

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