Playing With a Purpose
The Ministry Village Early Learning Center opened its doors to its first students in November 2018. While the classrooms and teachers were ready, the playground was still under construction. Plagued by stormy weather and production delays, the playground slowly began taking shape in mid-December as sidewalks were poured and play areas were structured.
The kids and their teachers were very excited to break-in the new playground in early January after grass was planted (and what seemed like weeks of rain subsided). What the kids found was not just a typical playground, but a well thought-out, carefully planned area that not only provides fresh air and space for active play, but also an extension of the learning that is taking place inside the Ministry Village ELC.
Kristi Zagar, Director of the Ministry Village ELC, has been anxiously awaiting the debut of the playground. Mrs. Kristi (as the students and their families know her) thoughtfully designed the playground to provide special areas where the kids can play and practice the concepts they are learning every day. “Kids can act out community helper roles using the special police, firetruck and school bus tricycles on the paved bike path,” explains Mrs. Kristi. “As they visit the playhouse neighborhood, one friend can deliver mail and packages from house to house, while another friend ‘cooks’ a meal to share with others. The sandbox makes a fun construction site as well as endless other opportunities to work on special projects with friends. A few kids can work together to put on a musical show or perform a story they heard earlier in the day, while their friends become the audience. By activating their imaginations and encouraging creative play, the children learn to take turns, cooperate, and practice their social skills. The possibilities are endless.”
And don’t forget about the slides, the basketball court, and the open space where kids can run, learn to catch, throw, kick and bounce balls, skip with friends, laugh and grow. These activities are all natural opportunities for children to develop their gross and fine motor skills – all with big smiles on their faces…and the faces of their teachers!
Thank you to the families who have trusted the Ministry Village Early Learning Center to care for their children. We look forward to helping them continue to grow and learn, in body, mind and spirit.