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Strong community support provides YMCA new 'Naure Explorer' Playground

6/7/2011 (Archived)

As an important and unresolved debate continues in the Iowa state legislature regarding support for early childhood education, Scott County is proud to announce an addition to our community’s tools for developing the spirits, minds and bodies of our youngest children.

On June 1 at 3pm, the Scott County Family Y’s Palmer Learning Center will introduce their new “Nature Explorer” playground. Funded by Scott County Kids – Early Childhood Iowa, the opening event will feature children-in-action, staff and volunteers from the United Way Women’s Leadership Council, which recently “adopted” the YMCA Child Care program.

“Anxiety and fear are running really high as we move closer to decision-time in our legislature regarding funding of early childhood programs,” said YMCA Child Care Executive Deb Gustafson. “This new playground, and the area leadership involved in its support and funding, show that our community feels strongly about providing these services to all children.”

The playground itself is an innovative approach to learning, activity and play.

“In this environment, play time becomes a tool for learning,” said Mrs. Gustafson. “While kids are hearing a story from a puppet, they are learning reading skills; when they bang on the music center, they are learning rhythm and spatial relationships; as they weed the garden and grow vegetables, they are learning nutrition and agriculture. The bug collection, painting areas, mud box and water table are all awesome attractions to kids, and they learn explosively as they play.”


 Similar Nature Explorer enhancements were made to the existing playgrounds at the YMCA Learning Center playground at the Davenport Family YMCA and at the YMCA Preschool Center at Bettendorf Christian Church.