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Guelph school raising funds for new recess toys as way to thank students for safety efforts

'They're really taking it seriously and they're following the rules,' says Mitchell Woods principal Mair Gault
20201124 Mitchell Woods PS AD
Mitchell Woods Public School. Google Maps

With children adjusting to a lot of changes during the pandemic, one local school is looking to thank their students for all their hard work by raising money for new recess equipment.

Mitchell Woods Public School has launched a year-long campaign with the goal of receiving enough funds to purchase 20 sets of class toys. The school is looking to buy items that can be easily sanitized in-between use. These items include frisbees, skipping ropes, crazy carpets, school yard balls and more.

"It's to recognize the effort that children are putting in (with following safety protocols)," says principal Mair Gault. "They're really taking it seriously and they're following the rules."

She adds that students have gone above and beyond to do this while learning and playing, and the school wants to recognize their actions.

"If we can give them something back to them and show how much we appreciate them... giving them something fun to do at recess shows we appreciate their efforts."

With children currently restricted to play in specific zones during recess, Gault says these toys can help make it more fun for them. However, she adds that recess equipment can be a big expense for schools.

"These are children and things tend to break down and need to be replaced," she says, "With COVID we tend to have more because children can't bring their own toys from home."

To raise money, the school is using an online platform called Fundscrips. Fundscrips is a website where participants can order gift cards online, and with every gift card purchase, a portion of the proceeds goes towards the school. 

"If you buy groceries every week, so it's a win-win that way." says Gault

Another benefit of hosting an online campaign is that there is no physical exchange of money taking place, making it safe for members of the school council who planned the campaign and who are also running it.

"They're incredible," says Gault about this group, “There's no processing that's happening in the school, so it's all contact-free.”

While they appreciate any and all support, Gault emphasizes that this campaign is not mandatory for families at their school to participate in.

She adds that the school recognizes that many families may be struggling financially during the pandemic, and that those people are not the ones they are reaching out to with their campaign.

“We want to make it clear that there's no pressure what-so-ever," Gault explains, “A fundraiser never will be and never has been mandatory."

Although it has been a challenging year, Gault says she feels lucky to work with such a great group of staff, students and families at Mitchell Woods Public School, and thanks everyone for the fabulous job they are all doing to prevent COVID. 

“The parents, the staff and the students have all stepped up and they are making the best of a challenging situation," she says.

"I am a very fortunate and blessed principal."

Interested in supporting the campaign? Go to fundscrip.com.