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Andrea Tyrah DeBruhl Memorial Scholarship for Future Teachers

1 winner$500
Application Deadline
Jun 30, 2024
Winners Announced
Jul 31, 2024
Education Level
Recent scholarship winners
Eligibility Requirements
Education Level:
Undergraduate student
3.0 or higher
Field of Study:
Early Childhood Education

Children deserve to live long, happy, and healthy lives and should be safe at school. 

Unfortunately, many children face injuries and harm at school, often on the playground. More than 200,000 children go to the emergency room every year as a result of an injury on the playground and 15 child fatalities occur from playground equipment each year.

It is of critical importance to take precautions to keep children safe and injury-free by providing proper supervision, age-appropriate equipment, materials to soften falls to the surface, and maintaining playground equipment.

This scholarship seeks to honor the memory of Andrea Tyrah DeBruhl by promoting playground safety awareness to protect children from harm or injury.

Any undergraduate student who is interested in pursuing early childhood education and has a 3.0 GPA or higher may apply for this scholarship. 

To apply, tell us why playground safety is important to you and how you’ll ensure that your future playgrounds are safe.

Selection Criteria:
Ambition, Need, Boldest Profile
Published February 15, 2024
Essay Topic

Please tell us why it is important to have safe playgrounds and explain what actions you would take as a teacher to ensure that you receive extensive training in playground safety and supervision.

400–600 words

Winning Application

Isabelle Olmeda
University of MiamiMiami, FL
Playgrounds are the hearths of children's most fond memories and foundational imagination and coordination skills. Public play areas encourage children to collaborate with new friends in their communities, critically think through situations, and, most importantly, learn how to take turns and share with others. Playgrounds are essential for children's motor skills and entertainment, so teachers and guardians must ensure faulty equipment does not spoil the fun. As caretakers, we urge children to take in every experience of the massive world at their feet, and foster happy memories for our children to cherish. Playgrounds should not be children's recollection of horrible scratches and bruises because of horseplay or unsafe equipment. As a future teacher or parent, I would make it essential for adults to actively review their playground's surroundings before children even enter the play area. Adults should begin their examination by checking for hazards like sharp edges, loose bolts, or trip hazards, such as rocks, tree stumps, or suspended ropes. The park's surface should provide soft cushioning for falls; rubber or sand would be ideal for playground floors, and adults should avoid gravel or asphalt surfaces. Elevated surfaces, including platforms and ramps, should have guardrails to protect from potential slips. Teachers should also ensure that the playground is inclusive of wheelchair accessibility. If ramps are not present and the class includes a handicapped classmate, it is best to travel to another playground that is inclusive for absolutely everyone. This examination could take just 10-15 minutes but could prevent many accidents that could spoil joyful playground memories. After checking for possible hazards, adults should maintain an open conversation with their children about playground safety. Children need to develop their own understanding of the difference between roughhousing and appropriate behavior. Yes, this may bore kids eager to start playing, but having this conversation ensures safety for the child and other children they may come across. The conversation could begin by demonstrating the proper use of play equipment: no standing on swings, sliding feet-first down slides, looking out for other children when jumping or sliding, and no climbing rails or platforms not meant for climbing. Even with these many safety precautions, children will continue to fall down and hurt themselves. Adults should communicate "how" to fall: knees being slightly bent, avoiding catching yourself with your hands, and relaxing when falling, rather than hardening up. Learning how to fall improves children's motor skills and guards against that fear of failing when growing up. Parents and teachers should also maintain this understanding that it is okay to fall, even though it always hurts to watch. Kids always get back up after falling and do not mind it unless adults do. Maintaining this conversation about playground safety with children is vital to preventing many potential accidents. Lastly, adults should maintain full supervision of their kids at all times. Playgrounds should not have too many barriers or blindspots that obstruct a guardian's point of view. Constant surveillance is crucial to preserving playground safety for our children. Adults should beware of any distractions, especially phones, that would discourage maximum attention to children. With consistent attention to kids, adults will be better suited to dissuade misbehavior and respond quickly to unfortunate accidents. Too many children are injured on playgrounds yearly, and adults must take the precautionary steps to avoid further tragedies. Community playgrounds are vital to children's early development, and adults must ensure that children stay safe in play areas.


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is Jun 30, 2024. Winners will be announced on Jul 31, 2024.