Free preschool given playground equipment, but kids can’t use it


The Charlotte Observer:

**Free preschool given playground equipment, but kids can’t use it **

A free preschool for low-income children recently hit the jackpot when a donor gave the nonprofit badly needed playground equipment for a new location in east Charlotte.But nearly a month after the start of fall classes, the equipment continues to remain untouched outside The Learning Collaborative. And it will stay off limits for the foreseeable future, say school officials.
“The kids can’t play on it,” says Shannon McKnight, director of development for The Learning Collaborative. “It’s a safety issue. It’s required that you have a safety barrier surrounding anything that’s a playground, which we can’t afford yet.”
The barrier she speaks of is not meant to be around the playground, but under it. Six inches of a special mulch is needed under the equipment, about 25 cubic feet.
Price tag: $1,100. That’s money the school doesn’t have after investing hundreds of thousands of dollars in relocating to a new site this summer in the Grier Heights community.

It’s not unreasonable for the school to hope someone will step up and donate the mulch, because that’s pretty much how The Learning Collaborative was able to relocate this summer.
The preschool was located for about 10 years on the same site as the YMCA in NoDa, but YMCA officials wanted the building for other uses. That put The Learning Collaborative in the hunt for a new home, which the nonprofit CrossRoads Corp found in the guise of a 8,060-square-foot shopping center in Grier Heights.
A community campaign successfully raised more than $1.3 million in donations and grants to buy the site and renovate it, including money from Wells Fargo, PNC Bank, the city of Charlotte and the Leon Levine Foundation.

The move is seen as part of a bigger plan to help revive Grier Heights, believed to be Charlotte’s oldest African-American neighborhood. It was founded as a farming community in 1886 with four houses. However, an exodus of homeowners in the past 50 years led to economic decline and an increase in crime. Today, 87 percent of the homes are rentals and about 40 percent of the residents are under age 18. The dropout rate among students is roughly two times the local average, says CrossRoads.
Nearly a quarter of the 64 students in The Learning Collaborative are from the surrounding Grier Heights community.
New playground equipment for the school was considered a long-term goal, but Charlotte’s United Way learned of a donor seeking to relocate playground equipment. United Way not only connected the donor to The Learning Collaborative, but lined up volunteers from Husqvarna to dismantle the equipment, move it, and then rebuild it at the Grier Heights location.

Yes, we can’t let children to play unless we can guarantee absolute, 100% safety. My parents, the criminals, let me go play without any precautions and if I got bruised or scarped they’d tell me to be more careful! Somehow I don’t envy today’s kids.


And we somehow managed to survive the scrapes, and bumps, and bruises.

Why not just wrap kids today in bubble wrap?


I wouldn’t let my kids play at a park that didn’t have those rubber mats or other safety precautions to protect from falls, like the mulch.

Injuries like broken bones are serious. Injuries like concussions and other head traumas are more so. The school cannot risk liability for injury to children.


It’s a preschool. They need to provide safety standards. Parks have safety standards. I would assume schools would have similar.

What if a child got hurt? Broken limb or concussion or brain injury? A fall from as low as three feet is dangerous for a pre school student. Would the school’s insurance cover injuries if they weren’t complying with safety standards? I know from experience brain injuries are serious, and medical costs involved are very high and As are costs of rehab that would be involved.

It has nothing to do with bubble wrap.


Exactly! we’re not talking a little cut or scrape that a band-aid can fix. We are talking real safety issues. Head injuries are serious. Broken BONES are serious, especially when you are little and your bones are still growing.

When my 17 year old niece was a toddler, we went to Toys R Us and she was playing on a display equipment outside…she fell off of it somehow…my sister was going to have her checked at a quickie med care place, but decided it was too long of a wait…niece was less than 2 years old IIRC. Were we supposed to say, whatever, kids get bumps and bruises? NO! You need to watch them carefully to make sure there is no concussion.

I hope some generous person comes forward with the $ to donate to get the mulch so the children can enjoy the playground equipment.


When I was very young, maybe 4 or 5 I remember there was some sort of excitement at the public park; My great grandmother lived across the street. Turned out that the new slide wasn’t installed properly and a girl was on it when it fell over. She died.

When people talk about how nobody cared about safety in the past and how nobody got hurt, I think of that.


Praying that a landscaping company, Lowe’s or Home Depot will donate the much needed mulch for this preschool!


I have several friends who operate paid daycare in their homes. You would not believe the regulations required by the state. None of the people who wrote the regulations would tolerate them in their own homes. There were several changes about whether children could have whole milk or skim milk. There was agreement that 2% milk was not allowed.

These are the same people who write regulations for school lunches that think the 100 lb sedentary freshman girl and the 200 lb senior boy athlete should be fed the same portions. I am all for safety and healthy diets, but when you delegate parental responsibilities to the state, you get this kind of nonsense.




With children, it’s not a matter of risk vs no risk. It’s a matter of degree of risk, and what is deemed acceptable risk.

Seems we are accepting less and less risk all the time. That’s one thing in a school setting in which everyone knows the school is heavily insured. It’s another when it comes to state expectations of parents.

When I was a kid, my parents thought nothing of my going out into the woods with a gun, day or night, unsupervised and for hours. There were creeks and critters and all kinds of hazards. Nobody would have called my parents to account for that at the time.

But now?


To paraphrase the old saying: There is no free preschool.


No kidding! The playgrounds I frequented as a kid has asphalt on the grounds.The slide was beyond high and not at all safe…we had ne of those merry go round type rides you stood n with ne foot,got the ride moving with the other foot,got going as fast as you could then hopped on!Oh my!:eek:


The difference is the school will be sued to the nines if a kid falls and scrapes themselves.


Well we can thank our litigious society for that.h:rolleyes:


That’s what our playground was like, one of my brother’s friends spent months in a cast from chest to knees from the merry go round. One girl two grades ahead of me fell onto the asphalt from the swings, she didn’t die but never came back to school.


And that’s the sad situation we live in.

Lawsuits have created a society of fear.



When I was in grade school in the 50’s and 60’s, the pastor had the schoolyard plowed and the snow pushed to the center to make a large snow mountain for us to play on.

We played “King of the Hill,” where kids would try and take down the kid who was at the top.

Imagine something like that today ?



Degrees are not absolutes.

People who want more safety precautions than I do are not arguing for ‘bubble wrap’.

People who want less than I do are not arguing for zero precautions.

It is true that sometimes the bureaucracy makes foolish decisions. That’s not the issue.

I do hope someone donates what they need. In the meantime I would rather see the children not have the playground than see them injured for lack of safety measures, supposing those are the only choices.


Yes,accidents happen that is for sure,in fact suprising that with six kids in my family,none of us ever broke a bone or had any serious injuries .Good guardian angels,I guess.:wink:
Just for clarification,I see nothing wrong with having safe play areas ,certainly the ground cover.However,it does seem that kids aren’t even allowed to be kids and just run around and play at recess.My oldest grandson,now in college,complained years ago,that it seemed all they were allowed to do is stand there and kick the rocks around during recess.Again I blame the knee jerk reaction to sue for everything.


To add to my other post. Here is a site with stats for children that died as an occupant in a vehicle.

Sixty-nine percent of child motor vehicle crash deaths in 2014 were passenger vehicle occupants, 19 percent were pedestrians, and 4 percent were bicyclists. Child pedestrian and bicyclist deaths declined by 90 and 91 percent, respectively, since 1975. Passenger vehicle child occupant deaths in 2014 were 57 percent lower than in 1975.

It is very clear that the safety precautions we have now have led to less deaths (at least in this case). Sure I didn’t get hurt in one of those old fashioned car seats but that’s only because my dad never got into an accident with me in the car. Many other children weren’t as lucky.

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