A traversing climbing wall is still the favorite activity of the students at School 3 in Dunkirk. The building is special in this regard since it is the only one in the district to offer this activity. The wall was installed eight years ago when the building was redone and has remained one of the most popular things with children.
“Usually the kids go there in the spring for about a month with several different activities and what I find is an exceptional way to really engage the kids.” Physical education teacher Brian Crawford told the OBSERVER. “It’s a lifelong sport that develops cardiovascular fitness, flexibility and coordination and is excellent for emotional and intellectual characteristics as well as patience, perseverance and courage.”
During the week of March 17, the classes took part in an obstacle course. There were places to put pool noodles on the wall for students to climb around, over, under and through them to complete the class. With COVID still looming, precautions have been taken and maintained to ensure the activity is safe.
“We asked them to sanitize their hands before they went up on the wall, then after and after each lesson I sanitize the whole wall as well,” Crawford said. “At School 3, they love it because they know they’re the only ones who can do this in the district.”
The wall appeared about 10 years ago when the district found some extra money while revamping the school. “They did a building plan about 10 years ago and they found some extra money and so we went to the Everlast company and ordered one,” said Crawford. “We have seven wall sections, each section is about 4 feet wide. I would have loved to climb higher, but when you climb higher you have to have insurance, pulleys and harnesses.
The wall sports a red line about 2 1/2 feet off the ground which they call the no-foot line. It marks the highest a student can climb. However, this does not make children less stimulated.
“Once they’re on the wall and they’re about a foot to a foot and a half away. They think they’re climbing Everest. Crawford shared. “It’s always a great challenge and it really forces them to work on their strengths, especially with their hands and their grip, as well as their toe placement, balance, core and that’s something they can keep going. after leaving that school; it’s a lifelong sport.