Revisiting an old neighborhood playground brings back lots of nostalgia for parents who get to relive the playful days of their own early childhood environment. Yet all too often, those memories are cut short with the realization that the local park is starting to decay and that some of the playground equipment is in desperate need of repair or replacement.
As special children’s spaces – such as kindergartens, playgrounds, sports fields, and neighborhood parks – are handed down from generation to generation, it’s important to continually renovate to maintain safety for the children who will learn, play, and compete in these locations.
Planning renovations allows the community to contribute to upgrades within those children’s spaces in terms of aesthetics, style, and equipment. What’s more, it gives a chance for parents, local businesses, and even kids themselves to get involved with making an important change in their own neighborhood, which is a true learning experience in and of itself.
How to Design Early-Childhood Environments
Most new parents have great ideas for bringing about change in children’s spaces in the neighborhood, but have no idea how to get involved. The best places to start include the Parent Teacher Association at the local elementary school, and the Parks and Recreation Department in your town or city of residence.
Since every town works differently in terms of financing, budget, and approval commission procedures, you will probably have to work on building your own personal network of other concerned parents, together with town and school officials. Local businesses looking to boost advertising and patronage might be interested in donating to your project as well.
Renovations at School: Early-Childhood Classroom Environments
A teacher’s kindergarten or elementary school classroom is a virtual arsenal of learning supplies: with cabinets full of books, toys, arts and craft supplies, and multimedia tools, a teacher may find him or herself lost in a sea of disorganization, which may negatively affect the learning experience for students. One way to focus on renovation within the school is to invest in organizational cabinets, desks, and cartons that are as colorful and covered with educational posters as they are functional and clean.
Do students have desks and chairs that are the right size and shape for their small bodies? Since it is important for students to be comfortable at school and feel like they belong, make sure that your school system replaces outdated, over-sized furniture with items that are ergonomically designed and are safe for children to use on a daily basis.
Sprucing Up the Sports Fields: A Fresh Burst of Team Spirit
Whether or not your own child is naturally athletic, it is important to foster a spirit of adventure and exercise within them at a young age. Team sports might not be everyone’s favorite activity, but sports fields serve more than as spaces for real games and matches: they allow children to explore body movement, enhance their coordinational skills, and have fun with their friends outdoors.
Of course, some of the renovations have to be left to the professionals – installation of sports equipment, especially when conforming to sports regulations, should not always be attempted by amateurs. However, there are a lot of small tasks you can take on to give a sports field a fresh look.
To make an outdoor sports field more inviting, organize a field-cleanup volunteer event, in which kids and parents remove weeds, grubs, and rocks while the adults mow the lawns and repaint fading boundary lines. A fresh coat of paint on the snack hut, the bleachers, and the scoreboard might not take much time or money, but will make all the difference in creating a special sports atmosphere for your child.
Create a field logo, and invest in yard signs that showcase the logo and can be put at strategic locations around the field. Be sure that these signs are durable and made of corrugated plastic that can survive outdoor weather conditions and will remain strong over years of wear and tear.
Playgrounds and Jungle Gyms: Outdoor Fun in the Neighborhood
Cleaning up a playground is a piece of cake, and really brings families and the greater community together. Whether at the back of the schoolyard or in a residential area, many people will gather at this location with their kids, so annual renovations are crucial to keep the space looking nice.
A few bushes such as colorful lilacs or rhododendrons require little upkeep, but can bring butterflies and colorful blossoms into the special play-space. Remember: a playground should be inspected every few years by safety officials before neighborhood kids are allowed to play on what may be faulty equipment. The dirt ground – which can be painful for children who might fall while playing – can be coated with fresh soft mulch that cushions hands and feet while playing and tumbling.
Together with a modest budget from the town and private donations, the support of the town officials, and volunteers from the community, transforming your kid’s early childhood environment for learning, growing, and playing is a task that will be as fun as it is rewarding for you and your family.