P.S. 212 celebrates new playground

November 11, 2011 Heather Chin
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It was the perfect morning to play outside. So, with the sunshining on the newly painted kid-safe blacktop – now in shades ofgreen, red, blue, yellow and orange – over 100 students and parentsgathered inside P.S. 212’s new playground at Bay 48th Street andHarway Avenue and celebrated what Principal Josephine Marsellacalls the school’s dream come true.

It’s wonderful. We’ve never had a playground, said Marsella.The children would come out, maybe play ball and jump rope. Nowthere’s a track and all of this. The children love it. And with the[focus on] nutrition and health and physical education, this ispart of that.

The bright, colorful, fully-equipped real playground replacesthe plain old field that fifth grader Arron says used to sitthere looking boring and not at all inviting to the seven to11-year-olds it was built to entertain. Now that it has basketballhoops, rain-proof hopscotch courses, a mile-long running trackaround a ball field, and giant geometric shapes for measuringperimeter and circumference, the playground is bursting at theseams with energy.

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The kids can’t wait to go out now, said mom Antonella Mancuso.They don’t want to leave school anymore, agreed YeseniaTrinidad.

The new playground joins another one for pre-kindergartenersthrough first graders located on the other side of the school thatwas also refurbished using money and resources provided by BoroughPresident Marty Markowitz, the Barclays/Nets Community Alliance,and the nonprofit Out 2 Play, which has built dozens of newplaygrounds in underserved neighborhoods throughout the fiveboroughs.

For the P.S. 212 community, the support doesn’t end there,though. FastNYC, which is a project funded through theBarclays/Nets Community Alliance, will also be sponsoringbasketball and cheerleading programs in conjunction with theschool’s existing gym and dance classes.

It means so much that you did not just fund it and saygoodbye, said fifth grader Amy Zaretsky in a speech at theribbon-cutting ceremony on Monday, November 7, which drew District21 Superintendent Isabel DiMola, CEC 21 President Yoketing Eng,Carlo Scissura on behalf of the Borough President’s office, and Out2 Play Program Administrator Sarah Gilbert. We love thisplayground so much and will never forget. Not only does it help ourenvironment, but we can relax in the shade… and it benefits thecommunity, too.

With the subway overpass a stone’s throw away and no communityparks or other kid-friendly areas around to speak of, theplayground is also a chance for children to learn how to interactin a safe and educational environment.

It gives the children more freedom to be themselves, to developphysical fitness skills, said physical education teacher OmarKhan. A lot of the kids go home and play video games. They don’thave a chance to get outside. This is changing that.

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