By PRESTON TOLLIVER

Log Cabin Staff Writer

The Faulkner County Day School recently renovated its playgrounds, replacing the sand surrounding the equipment with a spongier fall space. 

The new fall space, which cost about $32,000, was funded through private donations, two years’ worth of omelet breakfast fundraisers, two 5K event fundraisers, the Walton Foundation and other donors, FCDS director Teresa Little said.

"It’s taken a long time to raise the money, but we finally got the fall space put in," Little said. "Our children can safely play and learn."

Fall space, Little said, includes required material placed under and around playground equipment for children under child care to prevent head injuries. Most commonly, she said, these materials can include sand, pea gravel, tree bark or shredded tires.

"All of those materials wear out, wash away or can be a potential choking hazard," Little said. 

The FCDS had been using sand, but Little said the areas began to wear out and weren’t as thick as they needed to be to provide adequate cushion to the children playing on the equipment. She added sand would often get in children’s hair, shoes and eyes, further increasing the need of an improvement. 

"The ‘before’ was pitiful compared to the ‘after,’ " she said. "It’s pretty and it’s safe and it’s very pleasing to they eye when parents come to see it."

Little said that since receiving the equipment, she witnessed a child fall off a piece of equipment, bounce onto the new spongy safe fall, get up and continue playing without showing any signs of pain.

The school, which holds 100 students, cares for children under 5 years old who have learning disabilities. The school is also celebrating its 50-year-anniversary this year.