By Tina Snell, Staff Writer
The first step in the installation of a climbing wall at Lindbergh Elementary School is complete. Students are able to practice their skills on an eight-foot high by 24-foot long wall, complete with rocks and other objects to either grab or stand on.
Physical education teachers Kristin Jones and Jeremy Stadum knew the wall would be a positive addition to the school.
“Where I worked before, in Tracy, the kids loved the transverse wall,” said Jones.
The finished product will be on two adjoining walls from floor to ceiling.
Funds to purchase the first section of the climbing wall came from a Community Transformation grant, part of the district’s Wellness Program
Each school in the Little Falls District received $5,000 to increase physical activity and/or better the nutrition offered the students.
Jones said $4,000 went toward the climbing wall. A portion of the rest of the money was pooled with the high school and the middle school to install a portable frisbee golf course that the entire complex could use. With the rest, Lindbergh added hopscotch and four-square for active recess games.
Since the wall was added in May, fundraising and donations have procured another $12,617. The school met with a representative of Everlast Climbing Industries Thursday to begin step two of the project.
On the climbing wall now in the gym is a red line three feet off the ground. No child’s feet are allowed above that line without harnesses. Those will be installed as part of step two.
The school plans to install two or three harnesses.
“Right now, the students work their way across the wall,” said Jones. “There are different sizes and colors of rocks, representing three levels, varying in difficulty. The rocks can be moved or turned to create different scenarios.”
The easier rocks are placed closer together to accommodate the younger, and smaller, children. Medium rocks are spaced further apart.
The students do more than traverse the wall. There are different challenges posed to them. Sometimes they are told to only put their feet on one color and their hands on another. Noodles are bent in half circles and placed on the wall; the students must go through them. The wall is magnetic and letters are randomly placed. The students must move them around to make words. There are ‘Simon Says’ games and objects to move around, such as balls and cones. It’s only limited to one’s imagination.
“This is perfect for students,” said Jones. “It helps with critical thinking, flexibility, upper-body strength and confidence. Every muscle is used during wall climbing.”
Stadum said he is hoping to have Little Community Services get involved and offer climbing wall classes to both students and adults.
“This could also be used with community groups for team-building exercises,” said Jones.