Most Philadelphia Schools Don't Have Playgrounds, But That's Starting to Change

Monkey bars and jungle gyms are nowhere to be found in more than half of Philadelphia's public elementary schools. Instead, children play on cracked concrete that doubles as parking lots.

A new investigation by WHYY looked into the problem and found that two-thirds of Philadelphia School District elementary schools don’t have playgrounds. Those that do exist are located within neighborhoods with higher incomes or a history of community activism.

Lower-income neighborhoods and communities are color are almost completely devoid of what many consider a childhood staple.

“[Playgrounds] develop their gross motor skills, their fine motor skills,” James R. Lowell Elementary principal David Lugo said. “The space is there, but there is no equipment. There is nothing for them to get engaged [with] and to develop those different areas."

Part of the problem is that the Philadelphia School District does not budget for playgrounds. But some communities have found help in some unconventional places, like the Water Department and Trust for Public Land.

To read more of the investigation, click here.

Meanwhile, there's good news coming for Lowell: the elementary school is planning a new playground with the Trust for Public Land. 

If you'd like to join a public conversation about playgrounds and why they are important, click here for more information.

And if you want more information about how to create a playground or another project at your Philly school, click here.

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