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ECDC South Hills “Backyard” Enhances Learning

Posted by Roberta Levine on June 7, 2017

The South Hills Early Childhood Development Center is blessed with what some call “Our Backyard.” But what people are referring to is more than any old backyard. The JCC South Hills is situated on a huge site that includes three playgrounds, a large field, a grassy hill and direct access to the adjoining Scott Conservancy, and ECDC makes full use of all these wonderful resources.

“The outdoor play areas are so important to our families and to our children,” says Kathy Revesz, ECDC director. “It’s great for children’s physical development and for just experiencing nature.”

On a daily basis, ECDC children get outside to play in the developmentally appropriate playgrounds accessed from the building: the “Triangle Playground” for the youngest tots and the “Front Playground” for older preschoolers. Kids in the Kindergarten Enrichment program also make use of the “Back Playground,” an accessible playground with larger equipment used by children of all ages.

During the school year “Nature Don,” a nature specialist, leads preschoolers for hikes in the Scott Conservancy, where the trail leads to a “crick.” “There’s so much to explore on these walks,” Revesz says. “Nature Don talks to the children about plants, insects and animals that they see along the way.”

During camp time in the summer, the youngsters help in the Garden, learning about the goodness that comes from dirt while growing produce that they donate to local food pantries.

Year-round, the children play games in the large field area and frequently make a game out of running up and down the steep hill next to the JCC facility.

“The children love being outside,” Revesz says. “It’s experiential learning that enriches them in countless ways. And it’s fun.”

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