Grants and Funding

ESSER Funds for School Playgrounds

Pupils playground on a swing in their school yard

Is a playground in your ESSER plans?

Educators know that implementing a new school playground is a great, evidence-based way to address the social-emotional needs of students, especially those brought on or exacerbated by the pandemic. Did your school identify playgrounds as a solution to these needs and allocate ESSER funds toward a playground project as a result? If so, KOMPAN can help you determine what types of playground equipment fit within your vision and budget.

Get started with your planning

Ideal playground equipment for elementary schools

Different playground equipment is designed for different age groups, taking into account the various cognitive, social-emotional, creative, and physical developmental stages. For elementary-aged children, consider including these types of equipment and structures in your school playground to properly address their specific needs:

  • Rope climbing equipment, known to improve coordination, balance, and fine motor skills in young children

  • Playground sets, crafted to develop students’ social-emotional skills as they interact and play together

  • Themed play structures, from castles to pirate ships, meant to provide a space for creativity to flourish

  • Inclusive play equipment, like our universal carousel, intended to bring children of all abilities together through play

Students out on the school playground playing in a wooden playhouse

Equipment to engage middle and high school students

As students get older and playing is no longer considered "cool," it takes the right equipment to bring them to the playground. This type of equipment includes:

Give your students the playground they deserve

The pandemic was hard on everyone – especially children. To address the hardships students faced due to the lockdown, many schools decided to use their ESSER funds to build a new school playground.

If your public, private, charter, or special education school included a playground in your ESSER plans, KOMPAN can assist you with your project. We have a team of experts that can help you determine what types of play equipment and structures will work within your budget, so you can provide your students with the playground they deserve.

Let us help you with your ESSER playground project

Please fill in your contact details and we'll get in touch soon.


When do ESSER funds expire? Will I get to keep any unspent money?

Each of the three pandemic relief packages has a different deadline for fund designation, and they expire in a sequential order from when they were signed into law. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed promptly in March 2020 and has since expired. The deadline for the second package, the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) Act, has also passed. The American Rescue Plan, authorized a year after the pandemic's declaration in March 2021, has the latest deadline, with more than a year left for planning funds' purposes.

  • ESSER I (CARES Act): Sept. 30, 2022

  • ESSER II (CRRSA Act): Sept. 30, 2023

  • ESSER III (ARP): Sept. 30, 2024

However, these deadlines aren't a straight cutoff. The U.S. Department of Education will consider waivers for districts in the event of an ongoing construction project, like a playground installation.

What types of playground equipment can be purchased with ESSER funds?

There aren't strict guidelines on the types of commercial playground equipment you can buy with ESSER funds. Each category of our playground equipment will look striking on your schoolyard, so it comes down to deciding what play value will be the best fit for your students. Rope climbing playgrounds hold a treasure trove of developmental opportunities, and our playground systems can be customized to engage students, as young as Pre-K or as old as middle school, with a variety of play activities.

If your community makes eco-friendly choices that prioritize our future generations, know that your choice in playground equipment can also reflect that. Our GreenLine collection is made sustainably by recycling waste sources, like ocean and plastic waste, and repurposing them into playground panels and posts.

Can I buy more than just commercial playground equipment from KOMPAN?

Of course! Outdoor fitness equipment is a great addition to any middle school, and a multi-use sports arena, or MUGA, supports soccer, football, basketball and other games at the elementary and secondary school level.

Can private or charter schools apply for ESSER funding?

Yes. Charter schools (under local education agencies, or LEAs) have access to ESSER funds, just like public schools. Stipulations around private schools vary state by state, but the U.S. Department of Education does state nonprofit private schools are eligible for funding through the Emergency Assistance to Non-Public Schools (EANS).

I'm still feeling very lost. What can I do?

We understand navigating this process has brought challenges. KOMPAN has helped school districts in the mid-Atlantic and South turn ESSER funds into successful playground projects, and we're ready to walk through this path again with you! Fill out the contact form above, and we'll be in touch shortly.

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Students running towards the school playground during their break
"We want active play and active learning. In fact, we consider these playgrounds as outdoor learning spaces."

Orton Varona - President, North Tampa Christian Academy

Get inspiration from other school playgrounds

Humble School District, Texas | KOMPAN





Customer Case

Oaks Elementary School