The landscape of school funding has undergone a shift with the introduction of the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds. These funds, which are part of the government’s relief efforts following the COVID-19 pandemic, provide schools with financial resources to enhance their facilities, including revitalizing outdoor spaces. For school administrators, this could mean the possibility of using ESSER funds to enhance school playgrounds and establish vibrant learning spaces for students.

Understanding ESSER Funds

Focused on addressing learning loss during the pandemic, ESSER funds offer a unique opportunity for schools to invest in outdoor areas that contribute to the overall well-being and development of students. From updating play structures to incorporating inclusive design elements and improving green areas, ESSER funds allow schools to transform outdoor spaces. As schools navigate the complexities of these funds, it’s crucial to understand the specific guidelines and allowances in each state. Investing in renovating playgrounds and greenspaces not only contributes to the academic recovery of students but also creates dynamic and inclusive spaces that align with the evolving needs of education in the post-pandemic era.

Revitalizing Outdoor Spaces

Leveraging ESSER funds to update play structures, introduce sensory elements, and enhance green areas will promote physical activity and cognitive development. Integrating modern and inclusive design elements, such as accessible play features, sensory pathways, and interactive learning installations, can turn your playground into an extension of the classroom. Incorporating areas for nature-based play, outdoor classrooms, and collaborative spaces ensures a multifaceted approach to learning.


Creating Inclusive and Accessible Playgrounds

Inclusivity is a key aspect of modern playground design, and schools may be able to utilize ESSER funds to create play environments that are welcoming to the diverse needs of all students. Sensory-rich activities, unitary impact absorbing surfaces for accessible pathways, inclusive swings and play equipment, and multi-level designs encourage creativity and imagination and build meaningful connections between students.

The Role of Midstates Recreation

We know that this is a big project; that’s why our team is here to walk you every step of the way. We can work closely with you to understand your community’s needs and incorporate ESSER funds when available and appropriate. Through the selection, planning, approval, and build process, our team is committed to providing an excellent playground build experience.

Midstates Recreation designs, supplies, and builds community-enhancing recreational play and site structures. Midstates Recreation offers a variety of playground equipment in communities located in Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, and Michigan. Our emphasis is not only to create play and recreation spaces for all but to also provide a truly valuable and inclusive addition to your community! Contact your local sales representative to learn more.

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