Playgrounds are potential gold mines for preschoolers. They can stimulate their spirit of adventure, help them build self-confidence and explore the world, inspire their imaginations, and develop social skills, as well as foster physical activities and strengthen fine motor muscles.
And don’t forget the acceleration of academic abilities that is possible with playground equipment that includes items such as math panels, letter tracers, rain wheels, drums and telescopes.
“It is our goal to extend all of our 17 Head Start classrooms into the outdoor environment,” said CAC’s Director of Education Alice Harris.
At three of CAC’s four Head Start centers, playgrounds help 3 and 4 year olds reach their full potential, according to Ms. Harris. The exception is Old Cedar Lane Head Start in Columbia where the usable playground equipment for the 56 preschoolers at the school consists of a balance beam and a small freestanding unit that has two ladders and not much more. There was more equipment on that playground until last fall when the previously donated playground equipment was deemed unusable due to normal wear and tear issues.
While all children benefit from stimulating playground equipment, the new ADA-compliant equipment CAC wants to purchase has a portable piece that also meets the unique challenges of our young students with special needs, according to Ms. Harris. There is another bonus to obtaining additional equipment – it will enable two classes to utilize the outside open playground simultaneously, which is currently a major scheduling challenge.
The $5,000 price for additional playground equipment is considered a huge investment for CAC’s Head Start budget thereby delaying the purchase until additional donor support is sought. If any person or group would like to contribute to a fund for this equipment, please visit OUR WEBSITE or write a check to the Community Action Council of Howard County, MD. Be sure to stipulate the donation is designated for the Old Cedar Lane Head Start playground equipment. Mail checks to the Community Action Council, 6751 Columbia Gateway Drive, Columbia, MD 21046.