New Adventures. New Learnings.
Rolling down a hill without a care in the world is a popular childhood memory for many of us. But the reality in our community today is that many children aren't even exposed to the natural elements outdoors. In some instances, there is a lack of green space to play freely or it's too dangerous for children to play outside in their own neighborhood.
Our Excellence Academy (EA) early learning centers, supported in partnership with the Lift a Life Foundation and Community Coordinated Child Care (4-C), have recently begun to transform their playgrounds with natural elements such as mud kitchens, gardens and logs to climb on, incorporating their children's input in the redesign of the playgrounds!
Teachers and children from Keystone Learning Academy - the first EA location to have a natural playground - visited the natural play scape at St. Francis School in Goshen, Kentucky. Upon arrival, the kids at St. Francis were seen climbing and rolling down a large, beautiful, grassy hill. Some of our Excellence Academy kids observed the activities and attempted to scoot when they struggled to roll at first. One by one, the St. Francis students demonstrated and taught the Keystone students how to roll - a skill many of us take for granted, but without opportunities for big body play, this motor development can be a struggle.
When the children arrived back at Keystone, they were asked to envision what type of play scape they wanted at their center. All of the students talked about and drew the hill that they had spent their day playing on; today these students now have their very own hill to roll down and teach other kids how to do the same!
The Excellence Academy program continues to strengthen the skills of our students and teachers by exposing them to new adventures and opportunities, so that more of our children arrive at kindergarten ready to learn and succeed in life.