Play. Learn. Love.
That's the philosophy of Rodef Shalom's Family Center Preschool since our beloved Mimsie began the program nearly 20 years ago. The heart of each and every day at our school is play. In addition, outdoor play is critical for healthy development of young children. Many of the tasks that children must achieve – exploring, risk-taking, gross and fine motor development, cultivating social skills and the absorption of vast amounts of basic knowledge can be most effectively learned through outdoor play. For too many young children excessive amounts of screen time, structured adult-led enrichment activities and standards and accountability are pushing more and more inappropriate academics into the lives of preschoolers at the expense of their physical and mental health. And outdoor play is fun! It’s the perfect way for energetic young children to let off steam, recharge their batteries and acceptably make lots of noise.
Although we are located on one of the busiest intersections in the east end of Pittsburgh, we are most fortunate to have dedicated outdoor play space. It’s an essential component in a quality early childhood program, and a big selling point when recruiting families for our preschool. Parents are always amazed when they see our playground, with our attention to safety and the variety of both anchored and mobile equipment. Weather permitting, the space is used daily by children 18 months to five years. During the summer with the addition of wading pools and other portable equipment and activities, most of the day is spent outdoors.
It has been 15 years since the playground was overhauled, and it is sorely in need of renovation. The surface is eroding and some pieces of stationary equipment no longer meet current safety regulations. We are looking to raise funds to do the necessary repairs and replacement to restore the safety of this important space.
Mark Ford, the president of Sports and Recreation Associates, the company who worked on the playground in 2001, assessed the current situation last fall. In terms of the rubber surface, he proposed repairing some areas that have eroded, and then installing a new top layer with the same four color motif we installed in 2001. He would also remove two pieces of equipment that are no longer safe, and replace them with new and improved structures that meet all standards for our age group.
Therefore, we are trying to raise $50,000 to cover the cost of the new equipment, resurfacing, and maintenance. Ideally, the work to overhaul the playground will take place in spring 2017.
So I hope you join in, help us reach our goal, and honor Mimsie and the hard working staff of the Rodef Shalom Family Center Preschool by donating today. Please help us continue to PLAY.