Imagination Playground Heading to CDC Thanks to Grant
The Long Beach City College Child Development Center (CDC) is the recent recipient of a grant from KaBOOM! and The Walt Disney Company. LBCC will be receiving an Imagination Playground in a Cart, which is a kit of parts suitable for a variety of outdoor and indoor sites. It gives communities an easy-to-install cost-effective means to offer their children opportunities for open-ended free play. These sets include Imagination Playground Loose Parts and a storage unit on wheels. The "in a cart" model can be wheeled indoors and outdoors, and is suited for enclosed environments such as child care and school settings. Three LBCC CDC staff members will be trained to become Play Associates and learn different ways to use the materials and help support children.
Imagination Playground addresses a broad spectrum of play needs through opportunities for fantasy play and socio-cooperative play, in addition to more traditional running, jumping and climbing. In this playground, sand, water, loose parts and Play Associates combine to create an active, kid-centered environment that is constantly changing. This sort of free play, where children direct their own activities - alone and in groups - is important to their cognitive, social, intellectual and emotional development. It demonstrates a new paradigm for playgrounds around the country.
Conceived by internationally renowned architect David Rockwell, Imagination Playground is designed to prompt creativity and sensory exploration with “loose parts,” a changing array of elements that allow children to turn their playground into a space constantly built and re-built by their imagination. Imagination Playground is based on the concept of "free play," the idea that children should initiate and direct their own play and manipulate their environment. Free play enhances creative, open-ended interaction for a child’s cognitive, social, physical and emotional development.
Grant selection criteria include demonstrated need for an Imagination Playground in a Cart set, evidence of a well-maintained playground, evidence of available space and the ability to maintain the playground in a cart set, anticipated impact that that the playground in a cart will have on the community, demonstrated impact on low-income areas and the number of children the playground in a cart set will serve, and demonstrated enthusiasm for the grant program and commitment to fulfill recipient requirements. "Needless to say, we are THRILLED!," said Site Director Stacey Smith-Clark.