I teach in an at-risk PreK program in the southwest suburbs of Chicago. In my district about 90% of families are low-income. Many of our families do not have adequate or safe spaces for their children to engage in outdoor play. We know that interaction with nature and gross motor development is essential to children's learning in the first 5 years of life.
My school is constantly working to improve our students' outdoor play space, so that it can be the engaging, beautiful, inspiring environment that these young children need and deserve.
Our young students know that during the outdoor play time at school, they are safe to relax and enjoy just being a child. They can use their bodies and minds to let off steam and forget about the stress and risk factors that many of them encounter in their daily lives.
My PreK students enjoy 30 minutes of outdoor play 3 times a week. They love running, sliding, jumping and swinging... but sometimes they are also looking for a quiet, collaborative activity to engage in during outside play.
Outdoor chalkboards will enable my students to practice literacy and fine motor skills during their outdoor play time.
Children will be able to take a break from fast-paced play and draw with chalk or paint with water on the chalkboards. They will also brighten up our chain link fence, making our entire outdoor space more child-friendly and inviting. Since every classroom in the building has time for outdoor play, this project will benefit almost 300 students.
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