Mud Pie Park is dedicatedPublished 10:27am Wednesday, September 28, 2011
The Fergus Falls Early Childhood Initiative’s (ECI) mission is to help the community become a more nurturing place for young children between the ages of birth and five years. Last week, the ECI sponsored Mud Pie Adventure Park was dedicated and ground was broken to start the building process.
What is a Mud Pie Adventure Park? It is an early childhood outdoor classroom designed with the needs of all children in mind. It will have handicapped accessible walking and tricycle paths to encourage exercise for both children and adults; and a shade structure to serve as a gathering place for families, picnics, and group learning.
There will be community and early childhood gardening boxes and opportunities, along with a naturalistic landscaping to teach the wonder of natural science.
During a community assessment, families of young children in the Fergus Falls area identified safe play areas for their young children as a big need. The park is located at the McKinley Elementary School (724 West Laurel Street).
This building houses all kindergarten students and all early childhood programs. It is designed specifically to meet the developmental needs of the youngest children served through the early childhood programs.
Play is the work of young children. It is vital component of typical child development. In their book, Eager to Learn: Educating our Preschools, B. Bowman and S. M. Burns describe how societal shift has focused child development and school readiness too much on cognitive development — the ABCs and 123s. Where, typical development is a complimentary relationship among three: cognitive, social-emotional and physical.
Another important part of play is exertion of stored energy that if left unspent could lead to weight gain and over time, obesity. According to Dr. William Dietz, Director of the Center for Chronic Disease, “Surprisingly, the greatest threat to your child’s weight isn’t too much fast food — it’s too much television and not enough physical activity.”
ECI teamed with The Home Depot of Fergus Falls to begin construction of the shade structure. The project was made possible through generous donations from the Otter Riser Kiwanis, the Isaiah Anderson Memorial Fund, Sertoma Great Plains Region Service, Lake Region Electric Foundation, Sertoma Club, and donations from many other private businesses and individuals throughout the Fergus Falls Community.
Giving back is a fundamental value of The Home Depot and a passion for their associates. Team Depot is an associate led volunteer program that meets community need through hands-on service. Team Depot programs bring together volunteerism, do-it-yourself expertise, and product donations as a way to give back to communities where associates live and work.
There is strong evidence that our country is under investing in early childhood development, which is diminishing our nation’s ability to compete in the global marketplace. Research confirms the huge long-term economic payoffs from investments in quality early childhood development programs.
Join us in celebrating homecoming
Next week our school district has a full schedule of Homecoming activities starting on Oct. 3. Students are currently voting for royalty, getting ready to decorate for coronation, and are looking forward to dress up days, the parade, games, field show and of course the dance. The 2011 Homecoming King and Queen will be crowned in the annual coronation ceremony at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 3 in the Kennedy Secondary School auditorium.
The Friday night football game vs. Zimmerman starts at 7 p.m. Oct. 7 and provides an incredible halftime field show.