Later this summer, children residing at Carriage Town Ministries and youth living in the nearby neighborhood will have access to a newly developed "learning playground."
Located next to the Carriage Town Family Center on Garland Street, the new playground is a major enhancement to an area where no playground exists. Funded with a $79,500 grant from the Flint Kids Fund, it includes a colorful new playground structure, two swing sets, garden beds, wrought iron fencing with safety gates, a brick pathway, and landscaping.
In addition to early childhood education and physical activity, children will receive handson gardening experience with the installation of two raised garden beds, explained Cindy Johns, Director of Community Engagement and Development at Carriage Town Ministries. "With help from local master gardeners, children will be planting their own food, using food from the garden to create healthy meals and after schools snacks, and learning the nutritional value of foods that help combat the effects of lead."
The learning playground is a nice compliment to the Early Head Start program started last fall. A former clothing room was converted into two classrooms. Pre-school age children are playing with purpose and establishing routines, schedules and structure-what children need early on, says Trina Carswell, Resident Life Director.
"Having children in a safe place where they are learning helps parents transition quicker to housing and employment," Carswell explained. "And children can stay in the program once transitioned."
Johns is excited for the planting event scheduled on Memorial Day and the upcoming opportunities for fun learning experiences outdoors, in the sunshine.