Onshalique L. Winters
Creating a safe environment for children involves many steps. As a part of this process the partners of the Castlewood Plant and Play Coalition have been working to create positive relationships in our community. The focus of the Plant and Play Project is to promote not only more child led activities, but also to stimulate brain development that has been proven through studies to be associated with outdoor activities. Play is crucial for children to develop social skills early and therefore gaining independence with decision making. This project is turning into a great chance for the community to reestablish the core values of teaching.
As a neighbor, mother of four and initiator of PLUTO Young Leaders, I have joined the Community Childcare Partnership to work with local childcare and early head start educators to spread the word that the children in our community will have a new innovative Nature Playground available to enjoy.Brionna Ashley, founder of Lexington Dream Chasers Community Empowerment Project, is also part of the team and has reached out to her peers in the community to share the benefits of a new partnership with the Children at Play Network (CAPN). Together we are creating a platform that supports free play for our youth.
One of the benefits of being mentored by CAPN are trainings on free play, and using natural materials. This means childcare center staff can get their required ECE credits through this project! Together we can relearn the importance of running, jumping, climbing and exploring through the minds and eyes of children. As we communicated with other childcare professionals the common understanding was that together we can empower resilient kids with skills that help them become healthy, happy adults.
Community means coming together for a common goal. North Limestone CDC is fighting for its youth through forming undeniably devoted relationships with local youth organizations and local supporters. Through the Plant and Play Coalition we are educating each other, learning the benefits to our neighborhood and creating a safe and healthy environment for our future citizens. We are hoping to bridge the cultural and communication gap that exists in communities all over the world. Unifying the neighborhood with partnerships that challenge our children to be problem solvers and solution makers in our future community.
What can you do?
Let’s get ON BOARD! Spread the word to our local Childcare organizations that there is FREE continuing education available. The Early Childcare Community Partnership is also excited to schedule field trips for our community’s youth at Castlewood Park’s new Nature Playground. Let’s continue to support our children in outdoor play!