The Growing Place Child Care Center
The Growing Place Child Care Center, located at First Baptist Church in Asheboro North Carolina, offers an example of best practice in outdoor learning environments.
This center built support through the church and local community by transforming a typical space with standard play equipment, worn out grass, and a scattered sand pit into an environment that meets the goals of Shape NC and the Preventing Obesity by Design approach.
A new five-foot wide concrete path allows children to access the many features within the space, including a play stream, corner stage, earth play area, sand play area, and play hill.
The space is lush with vegetation, including many flowering ornamental perennials, vegetables, and a tunnel made of spinach! The new space has changed with way teachers use the outdoors, allowing them to set up learning stations that bring the indoor curriculum outside.
The center staff reports positive behavior changes in the children, which is attributed to more opportunities for play. According to the center director, Katherine Davis, parents now like to come in and play with their kids before heading home for the day.
The center invites other facilities in the surrounding area to come and see the positive impacts of providing a well designed outdoor learning environment for young children.
The children were able to plant and have a garden this past summer. We had cucumbers, basil, tomatoes, corn, squash and green peppers.