The students of Dickinson's Trinity Elementary Schools East and West have a new set of playground equipment to use during recess time and physical education classes.
The equipment is part of a Carol White Physical Education Program (PEP) Grant awarded to the Bismarck Diocese Catholic schools. The $448,506 grant was awarded over a three-year period. In addition to Dickinson, other Catholic schools receiving equipment were from Bismarck, Minot, Williston, Mandan and Fort Yates.
The purpose of the grant is to provide funds to educational agencies to initiate, expand and improve physical education programs. Each applicant designs a program that aligns to state standards for physical education.
"It's like Christmas," said Sr. Dorothy Zeller, Trinity East and West principal. "We were able to get things we could never afford otherwise."
This is the second year the schools received supplies through the grant.
Previously, the Trinity elementary schools each received a 32-inch television, CD player and speakers for use in rhythm and dance classes. The schools also received portable rock climbing walls and computers for use in grading and fitness tests.
Through an additional PEP grant received with Richardton-Taylor school, Trinity East and West recently received heart monitors, pulse sticks and pedometers for use by students while they exercise.
Zeller said the playground kits each included kick balls, footballs, basketballs, volleyballs, tetherballs and soccer balls, each in six different colors.
Additional boxes were filled with bean bags, scoops for catching balls, cones for obstacle courses, jumping ropes, chalk and two electric ball inflators.
Each building also received two ball carts to store the equipment.
When the weather allows, the playground will be marked with games using stencils and paint.
"The philosophy is to have a lot of options for the kids to be busy, not to stand in lines or fight with each other," said Zeller.
While improved physical fitness is one aspect of the program, Zeller said conflict resolution is the another. Students are taught to either walk away from conflict, talk it through or use a conflict resolution game like "Rock, paper, scissors."
As students check out equipment from school, they are required to return it. Each class is assigned a color to encourage responsibility.
The equipment is part of the Peaceful Playgrounds Curriculum to teach games for students in preschool through grade 6. Nineteen teachers from both schools recently participated in inservice training. They were challenged to learn many of the new games.
"The teachers are excited about Peaceful Playgrounds. It's helping us address very positive issues," she said. "Also it supplements the anti-bullying curriculum that both buildings are working on, especially with our school counselor Mrs. Pierce."
Trinity East and West physical education teacher Gregg Bertelsen is introducing games throughout the next few weeks. He likes games that are all- inclusive.
"The idea is try to get everybody moving," he said.
"It's nice not having a shortage of equipment. Everyone isn't waiting for a piece of equipment. It's nice to keep them moving," he added.
Bertelsen appreciates the pulse sticks, which resemble a bike handle. Students grab on to the handle to take their pulse and learn if they are in the target zone for exercise. He recently attended a inservice training in Bismarck to properly use the heart monitors and pulse sticks.
The students receive 90 minutes of supervised physical education each week, plus the noon break and recess times.