Grant funding provides help for Little Promises’ playground equipment

Sean C. Morgan

Before the fences came, the smallest students at Little Promises Child Care could only gaze longingly as older children played on a set of four large tires on the preschool and daycare program’s playground.

Last spring, Little Promises Child Care went to work to build a fence meeting state regulations for the playground area and give the 3- and 4-year-olds the same access to playground attractions that the 5-year-olds had.

Little Promises used community grant funding from the Sweet Home Community Foundation, $2,000, and the City of Sweet Home, $500, with at-cost work by McGovern Maintenance.

Little Promises offers low-cost nonprofit daycare services through age 5, with a preschool, kindergarten and a before- and after-school for children through the sixth grade.

It is certified for up to 105 children, said Director Nelia Taraski, and it is pushing the limit, with around 97 children.

The playground areas are now fenced and covered in resilient mats, pea gravel and mulch to create safe fall zones and prevent serious injuries when the children fall, Taraski said. “We finished it at the end of the summer. We accomplished the fencing and other goals.”

The tires had been there awhile, but state regulations required that Little Promises remove them until a safe fall zone could be created, she said. That had to happen with “everything that is 3 feet or higher.”

“The tires are our No. 1 attraction,” Taraski said. The younger children have always been jealous of the older children. “The first day we opened that gate, they just ran over there.”

The Little Promises playground areas are now fully fenced and divided into multiple areas for use by multiple groups of students. Fencing extends between a large field and Pleasant Valley Road. Previously, just one playground area had been fenced.

In addition, Little Promises recently completed construction of a new fort to go along with an older wooden cabin for the older children. Weyerhaeuser provided the peeler cores, and volunteers provided most of the labor.

All of the existing playground equipment is at least a decade old, Taraski said.

Little Promises is forging ahead this year with new projects.

On April 17, A&W will support Little Promises through a fund-raising event, Taraski said. The business will donate proceeds and tips that evening beginning at 5:45 p.m.

Funds will be used to install more attractions for the children and to help with maintenance and repair projects.