Decatur Head Start Center Receives Grant to Enhance Outdoor Play
Last Updated on Tuesday, 21 May 2013 00:11
RESTON, VA, August 31, 2009 -- Head Start Body Start National Center for Physical Development and Outdoor Play today announced Northwest Arkansas Head Start as one of 351 recipients of a $5,000 grant to improve the outdoor play space at the Decatur Head Start Center. 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 the Office of Head Start.
According to Head Start Executive Director Ann Williams, "We appreciate Head Start Body Start for helping us to evaluate our play spaces and educate our children and their families about the value of physical activity and playing outdoors, in particular.” This grant will enable our Head Start Center to expand and enhance our playground in Decatur by adding challenging equipment such as balance beams, wheeled toys and a log structure. The addition of a balance beam, art easels and musical instruments will incorporate a variety of outdoor learning to our existing program.
"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 Head Start Body Start National Center for Physical Development and Outdoor Play Director, Karin H. Spencer, EdD. “Unfortunately children today spend less time playing outdoors than any previous generation," added Spencer. "We want to help the 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 opportunites for children of all ability levles."
In addition to the play space improvement, each award-winning Head Start Center will have targeted training, technical assistance and the 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! Week, October 19 through 23, 2009. To learn more about Take It Outside! Week, visit www.headstartbodystart.org.
Head Start Body Start National Center for Physical Development and Outdoor Play (HSBS) is a project of the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) and the American Association for Physical Activity and Recreation (AAPAR), which are associations of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD). Funding for HSBS is provided by the Office of Head Start (OHS), Administration for Children and Families, US Department of Health and Human Services. The purpose of HSBS is to increase physical activity, outdoor play and healthy eating among Head Start and Early Head Start children, families and staff. HSBS will assist Head Start programs in creating healthy learning environments, both in and outside the classroom, through structured and unstructured physical activity that leads to the physical, cognitive, social and emotional development of young children and reduces obesity and its associated costs. HSBS has three main objectives: (1) to inform and assist OHS in setting national priorities and developing policies; (2) to provide resources, training and technical assistance to Head Start and Early Head Start Centers; and (3) to administer and support grants for construction or improvement of outdoor play spaces at Head Start Centers.
Northwest Arkansas Head Start is a non-profit agency offering free child development services to families who qualify in Benton, Madison, and Carroll counties. In total, Northwest Arkansas Head Start provides services for 504 children of lower income families in the area. It is only with the assistance of community partnerships such as this one that the level of service we are able to provide is maintained.
Jennifer Dunham, Disability/Community Specialist
Rogers, AR 72756
Phone: (479) 636-7317