VAN BUREN, September 2, 2009—Head Start Body Start National Center for Physical Development and Outdoor Play today announced Head Start Child and Family Services, Inc. as one of 351 recipients of a $5,000 grant to improve the outdoor play space at the Briarwood Head Start Center of Fort Smith, Arkansas. The National Center was created through a federal grant to the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) and the American Association for Physical Activity and Recreation (AAPAR) from Office of Head Start.
According to the Head Start Child and Family Services, Inc. Community Partnership Coordinator, Ronna Davis, “We appreciate Head Start Body Start for helping us evaluate our play spaces and educate our children and their families about the value of physical activity and playing outdoors in particular. The grant will enable our Head Start Center to replace a child size basketball goal and install a rock climbing tunnel.”
“Outdoor play is associated with greater amounts of physical activity in children and research has shown that opportunities for whole body exercise has a long lasting influence as preschool physical activity tracks throughout childhood,” said Davis, “We want to help Head Start staff discover the benefits of outdoor play across developmental domains and learn about the features of high quality outdoor play spaces that promote movement opportunities for children of all ability levels.”
In addition to the play space improvements, each award winning Head Start Center will have targeted training, technical assistance and expertise of a physical activity consultant as well as access to online courses, webinars and resource materials. One of their first initiatives will be celebrating the inaugural Take it Outside!, October 19 through 23, 2009. To learn more about Take it Outside! Week, visit www.headstartbodystart.org.