Priceless Playground Volunteers - SLO Classical Academy
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San Luis Obispo Classical Academy San Luis Obispo Classical Academy

Welcome to Down Home, San Luis Obispo Classical Academy’s blog! We are a classical school offering several options to make our education work for families with infants through high schoolers. Our signature hybrid program, which is part-time classroom and part-time home instruction, provides an engaging education for preschool through middle school (with full time options available). We also have a university model high school. This blog is meant to support and encourage on the home front because, in so many ways, the heart of what happens at SLO Classical Academy happens down home.

Semper discentes—always learning together.
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Priceless Playground Volunteers

{photo from SLOCA’s Flickr site}

No one is more cherished in this world than someone who lightens the burden of another.

~Author Unknown

Over the summer we shared a little about the rewards of volunteering here at SLO Classical Academy, and the new requirement to serve 5 of your 15 volunteer hours each trimester either on the playground or at Fred and Betty’s. The focus then was on our thrift store and what to expect when you give your time there. 

Today we want to emphasize another essential and urgent area of need – playground duty. At the beginning of the school year we are especially in need of extra eyes on our kids, and we are so thankful for those of you who have signed up so far! We know this can be tricky for some families, but if it can work with your schedule it will provide a huge benefit for our kids and be rewarding for you as well. Parents with younger children can bring them along. 

Like we said previously on the blog, volunteering is not only vital to the operation of our school, it is also one of the best ways to get to know the kids on campus, to model the character traits that we are teaching them, and to build community by connecting with other parents and staff members. 

It’s an easy job – parents who volunteer on the playground might do any of the following:

  • Help kids follow the rules on the playground.
  • Be an extra set of eyes to keep our kids safe.
  • Provide minor first aid for scraped knees, etc.
  • Help them with snacks and lunch, with special attention given to food allergy awareness and keeping hands clean.
  • Help them learn to take care of our school by reminding them to pick up trash and equipment.
  • Help them resolve minor arguments, etc.
  • Engage them in games like four square, jump rope, basketball.
  • Be a part of our SLOCA community – get to know the kids your kids are playing with! 

{photo from SLOCA’s Flickr site}

In case you’re still not sure if this is something you want to give your time to, we leave you with a few testimonials from parents who have experienced the personal rewards of volunteering on the playground:

Lisa Merrill (Track A):

I am the quiet type of playground volunteer. The kids don't seek me out to unscrew their thermos lids or ask for a restroom pass. They look toward the more outgoing Ms. Adams. They probably don't know my name, but I know most of their names, who their friends are, and what game they like to play at recess.

What I have learned from watching the kids at recess and lunch is that boys and girls play differently. Most boys gravitate to the balls (though the flying disc took precedent in the field this year) and are very competitive. Girls tend to hang out in small groups and play four square or with the jump rope. When girls play with balls they are much less competitive and are more forgiving of a miss and allow a “re-do.” 

The SLOCA kids also play very nicely with each other. They take turns, play fair, and are considerate of other's feelings. I have enjoyed being able to help out during recess and lunch. And since I have been on the playground for 4 years I have been able to watch this group of kids grow up. I notice when they get glasses or braces, when the girls start wearing make up and when they boys finally notice the girls. It has truly been an enjoyable experience to be on the playground every week.

{photo by Jaime Mickey}

Richard Jenei (Track B):

The benefits of volunteering at the playground were numerous.  I got a chance to see how my child interacted with his friends and fellow classmates which assisted with our communication.  My questions have become more than just the typical, “how was your day at school?” I feel that we now have greater connection. Lastly, I am provided with a rare opportunity to connect with other parents which you really do not have the ability to do when dropping off and picking up your child.  I really feel a sense of community as a result.

Brian and Mary Beth McCormac (Track B):

Volunteering at lunch has been an amazing opportunity to get to know our children's friends, classmates and their parents. We have thoroughly enjoyed volunteering at lunch and we look forward to continuing it next year.

{photo from SLOCA’s Flickr site}

Paul Bischoff (Track A):

Being recognized by the kids is awesome, and knowing I'm adding a little positive to their lives through giving them protection while they play is very rewarding. The camaraderie with the other parents is also special, and connecting with them is what makes our school community what it is. 

Our school wouldn't be nearly as awesome as it is without the parental involvement, and volunteering is a huge part of that.

Robert Billington (Track B):

My daughter and I moved back to the Central Coast last year and I enrolled her at SLOCA. I volunteered almost everyday she was at school. It was a good way for me to meet other parents who were involved in their kids' education, the community and the future in general. Helping with the lunch hour/playground duties also gave me a look at where my daughter is headed with her education and friendships as I saw how other kids interacted together. I believe being involved in the community, and helping out where I can strengthens our community and is a positive influence for my daughter. I enjoy being that role model for my daughter and I love being so involved in her education. 

We extend our deepest thanks to all of our parent volunteers, and to those who shared their thoughts with Down Home today. We are so very grateful for your kindness and devotion to keeping our kids safe and making our school the special place that it is! Just like the quote says at the top, you are cherished!

Parents, we hope you are looking forward to getting out there and being part of the wonderful things happening at SLOCA by volunteering on the playground and at Fred and Betty’s this year.

For more information about volunteer hours, email the volunteer coordinator at [email protected]. For playground-specific questions, email our Playground Supervisor Ross Landgreen at [email protected].

Click here for our Playground Duty google doc to sign up for a specific time. Or feel free to email Ross at the address above and he can put you on the schedule. Here is our playground schedule so you can find a time that works for you:

  • 10:15-10:30 – Kinder through Intermediate Recess
  • 11:15 – 11:55 – Middle School Lunch
  • 12:00 – 12:40 – Kinder – Intermediate Lunch
  • 1:30 – 1:40 – Kinder – Intermediate Recess

Thank you for your help with this important and priceless service! 

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