Students get play day instead of school day

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Showing up for school doesn't always mean hitting the books, Moffat County elementary school students learned on Monday.

During a teacher in-service day, about 200 students celebrated the first organized Play Day at Ridgeview Elementary School.

With the help of the area service groups and community volunteers, students immersed themselves in activities staged around the school.

While applying glittery glue around the edges of a picture of himself, Dillon Porter said it hardly felt like a normal day at school.

"It feels like I'm at home doing arts and crafts," he said excitedly.

Students from district elementary schools attended the Play Day for a $5 fee. Organizers said they hoped the event sparks interest for the future of a local Boys and Girls Club.

"We hope in the future we can continue to do the same sort of things and we won't need to use the school buildings," said Pres Askew, a proponent responsible for bringing a Boys and Girls Club to the area.

Askew has received county approval to use the former Armory building as a site for the club, which he and a group of organizers hope to open in the spring.

Before that time, more Play Days may dot the winter months marking future teacher in-service days. It's one way to give students supervised activities during the day hours when most parents are at work.

Coming to school to play wasn't a bad idea, according to Benji Crippen, a second grader at East Elementary School.

"I'd rather do this than go to school," he said while constructing a racecar to zoom down the upstairs hallway.

Other activities included bead making, playing noodle ball in the gym, listening to stories and following along with an impromptu game of "Simon Says" from volunteer Westley duPont.

As she led the students through messing up their hair, jumping on one foot and spinning in a circle, they began to pay closer attention to the clues that would keep them playing.

"They're getting smarter," she remarked as the game continued.

Officiating over a ball game in the school gym, volunteer Gene Bilodean said the day was good trial run for a Boys and Girls Club.

"I don't think they feel at all like they're at school," he said, watching the students' excited reactions. "I think they're getting more liberties than they do at school."

Amy Hatten can be reached at 824-7031 or ahatten@craigdailypress.com.

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