More than just a playground, it will be an outdoor learning environment and natural playscape that pays homage to our city and the church’s history. One feature that we are extremely excited about is the Log Meeting House, a nod to First-Centenary’s original worship space. Here the children will have opportunities for dramatic play and social, emotional, and spiritual development. To contribute a tax deductible donation, click here or mail check to First-Centenary UMC, P.O. Box 208 Chattanooga, TN 37401 and be sure to write playground renovations in the memo space.
Why transform the playground to a play/learning environment?
- I cannot say it better than Diane Dodge, Laura Colker and Cate Heroman who wrote The Creative Curriculum for preschool; a curriculum we use in all our classrooms.
- Outdoor play is essential for children’s health and well-being. The sense of peace and pleasure children experience when they take in fresh air, feel the warmth of the sun on their backs, and watch a butterfly land gently on a flower is immeasurable. What is very evident is how much children enjoy running, jumping, climbing and playing outdoors. The time children spend outdoors every day is just as important to their learning as the time they spend in the classroom. For educators, the outdoors offers many ways to enrich the curriculum and support children’s development and learning.
- An inviting outdoor environment offers children a variety of choices for different kinds of experiences and challenges.
- We follow a Reggio Inspired emergent curriculum which is supported through The Creative Curriculum and our curriculum puts an emphasis on outdoors and community. I think of how wonderfully these two would come together with a new outdoor environment. More options for the children in an outdoor environment would encourage them to be more active, and support learning in a variety of ways.
- A new outdoor environment would also offer many options for our children (see diagram) which would give them not only gross and fine motor play but challenges so that they do not get bored.
- This outdoor environment would also be inviting for the younger children to visit on Sunday’s and Wednesday’s (and during other special events at church).
- The first five years of a child’s life are very important and crucial to their success and growth as this is when their brain is forming and developing and our outdoor environment can add wide variety possibilities to that growth if it is age appropriate and inviting.
- Our current playground was beautifully installed over 25 years ago and it has served our older children well and now the time has come for an outdoor environment that will cater to all our children in the CEC and church birth to preschool age and even younger elementary would get to enjoy the new outdoor environment.
- The new outdoor environment will have a natural park like atmosphere that will accentuate the beauty of the church with the Trees, Greenery, the steeple library and the Log Meeting House along with the excitement and the pitter patter of the children.