Hansen Elementary Students Climbing the Walls


By Katie Hurley

alley oop gymnastics Hansen Elementary School students were thrilled recently to learn their long awaited playground climbing wall was installed and ready for business.

Lines formed as kids waited anxiously to climb up as high as 8 feet and then traverse the wall. They will soon have even more room to climb when a similar 48’ long wall is installed indoors along the gym wall.

Both climbing walls were purchased by Hansen Community Council (HCC), the parent-teacher organization at the West Olympia elementary school.

olympia school district
Hansen fifth grader, Taylor Skipworth, reaches new heights on the climbing wall.

“Hansen has a great community of parents and staff helping raise money and volunteering time to make Hansen an incredible place,” said HCC President Amanda Eaton.

The money to buy the climbing walls is the result of 3 years of fundraising efforts and careful budgeting. HCC also funds field trip busing, enrichment assemblies and reimburses teachers for some of their classroom supplies.

Principal Ernie Rascon says, “The climbing wall is awesome, and the kids are having a blast!”

While the kids only know they’re having fun, a recent study by Central Washington University confirms that traverse climbing is a vigorous activity that promotes upper body strength and helps develop problem solving skills at the same time.

When the indoor wall is completed, it will be used for gym classes and as a rainy day recess activity. Color coded hand holds enable children to choose a route based on level of difficulty, or they can free traverse a combination of the different routes.

When asked what they think of the wall, the kids chimed in with their responses. “Cool!” “Awesome!” and “Higher than my dad’s ladder!” In just a few short minutes of observation, it is clear to see that Hansen Community Council’s investment in fun and fitness was a wise investment.


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