The outdoor play area at Alamance Community College’s Child Care Center will now serve double duty for children, thanks to extensive renovations and an expansion funded by an Impact Alamance grant.
Until last year, the center’s outdoor play area was primarily focused on helping children be active and develop gross motor skills such as running and climbing. Thanks to Impact Alamance’s funding, though, the play area will now become an outdoor learning environment.
New sun protection shelters, planters for vegetables and other equipment will allow child care teachers to potentially conduct their entire day’s activities outside when the weather’s nice.
“We want that outdoor environment to be something they can learn all areas of curriculum in,” says Jeannie Proctor, who is head of the Early Childhood Department at the college. “They’ll be able to do art outside, language activities outside, math, science.”
Children will help plant and care for vegetables in new planters, deepening their appreciation for healthy foods as well as teaching them how plants grow. In addition to the dozens of children of students, faculty and staff that the center serves, it also acts as a lab for early childhood students.
The new facilities will give students the opportunity to practice outdoor, engaged learning activities and to learn how to design and create outdoor learning environments for young children. That knowledge, in turn, will spread to the child care centers where those students go on to work.