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Collaborating with Parks

by Dana E. Friedman
September/October 2006
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Article Link: http://www.childcareexchange.com/article/collaborating-with-parks/5017153/

As I visited a Head Start program in a large, low-income neighborhood on Long Island, the director and staff complained to me about the need to take a bus to get to a nearby park. I looked out the window and there was a huge expanse of burned-out grass. They explained that they could get funding for the bus, but not to fix up the adjacent park. Seems a little twisted, right?

That lead me on a journey to understand how parks could be designed to enhance children’s learning, making perfect outdoor playspaces for child care programs and great field trips for parents and other caregivers. What I learned is that throughout the world, including some parts of the United States, there is a growing movement to use public spaces for lifelong learning that will enhance and sustain the well-being of children, families, communities, and the environment.

This article summarizes the ways that parks can enhance early childhood learning, while promoting health, family well-being, and the environment. Though many initiatives involve the schools, they can also be done in collaboration with child care programs. While reading this, think about what you could propose to your local parks commissioner, or ways ...

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