FAIRFIELD — Children in Fairfield have a new place to play.

On Thursday, Fairfield Center School unveiled a new playground for children aged 2-5. It will serve both the preschool and kindergarten classes at the school, as well as the broader community.

“It really opens up the opportunity for us to give our kids more age appropriate gross motor skills,” said preschool teacher Leah Rocheforte. There is now equipment for students to practice climbing, balance and other skills on equipment sized for them. “It’s a big deal.”

Prior to the installation Rocheforte had been playing on the grass and bringing out equipment.

“It’s going to make a really safe place for our kids to play,” said Rocheforte.

The fenced in playground has balance beams, riding toys, two slides, and musical instruments. 

“We are so fortunate to have Valdemar Garibay and Liz Ebbs,” said Fairfield Principal Sean O’Dell. “They volunteered to make a pre-K playground happen for us… We couldn’t have done it without them.”

“It really was a community-involved thing,” said Ebbs, who was one of four people on the playground committee, the others being O’Dell and Bridget and Valdemar Garibay.

In addition to the new playground, the committee will also be adding wood chips to the playground for the older kids and doing some maintenance, explained Valdemar.

This is the second playground project the Garibays have led. A new playground at the Collins Perley Sports & Fitness Center was installed at the end of June. 

“We are grateful for the community support, and the many donors for their help! It is so rewarding to participate in a project that will be enjoyed by so many children and families for years to come,” said Bridget.

“I would like to thank the Fairfield Community, the donors, and the playground committee for helping make this preschool playground possible,” said Valdemar. “Fairfield Center School now has a very nice playground for preschool children that is rated for ages 2-5.  It is wonderful that the children at school and in the community will be able to participate in the playground for learning, using their imaginations, making social connections, developing their creativity, and having fun.”

Now that the school has a place for the youngest children, O’Dell, said activities for middle school children are next. With a grant from RiseVT, the school will be installing a gaga pit, where older students can play a less aggressive version of dodge ball.

The grant will also pay for new tubes for sledding on the school’s many hills.

“The more active we can get the kids, the better,” said O’Dell.

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