by Natalie Goodnow, Artistic Associate
Theatre Action Project’s TAP Afterschool program is partnering with the University of Texas School of Public Health (UTSPH), Del Valle ISD, and Bastrop ISD on an exciting adventure: The Active Play Project. The Project is designed to promote student’s enjoyment of physical activity and get them to participate in it during recess time and other break times during the school day. To do this the Project will enhance a school’s physical areas with playground designs. The markings are also intended to appeal to teachers to help the reinforce core academic content and encourage teachers to incorporate activity breaks during the day.
The idea is to cover as much of the play areas as possible with colorful and engaging markings with at least 4-5 larger marking designs (e.g., 5’ x 5’). They designs will have an academic aspect as well as locomotor patterns going to and from the play area. Locomotor patterns get your feet to move your body from one place to another. The patterns get you walking, running, hopping, jumping, skipping, galloping, sliding, and leaping.
The UT School of Public Health is the creator and funder of the Active Play Project, and Theatre Action Project is happy to be facilitating. We are working closely with Artist Consultant Griffon Ramsey, who designed fabulous playground markings that are now on several Austin ISD campuses, and that you’ll soon see in Del Valle and Bastrop as well! The participating schools include all eight of the Del Valle ISD elementary schools and two schools in Bastrop ISD, Lost Pines Elementary and Red Rock Elementary.
We have one TAP Teaching Artist serving as the Project Leader at each campus, working in close partnership with the campus’ Afterschool Program Coordinator. Our Teaching Artists have each assembled an Action Team including reps from their campus’ faculty, staff, parents, and administration, and have solicited input on Playground Marking designs from both the Action Team and their own afterschool students.
And, now, the really fun part–Teaching Artists are using this input as we speak to create design proposals that specific to the character and needs of their campus.
Keep an eye out for photos and reports from our paint days as these designs come to life in March, April, and May!