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September 21, 2010

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New Play Space Opens at the MRH Early Childhood Center

A project that has been nearly ten years in the making is finally coming to life. An old muddy field at the MRH Early Childhood Center has been revitalized into a new play space that inspires imaginative play in our community’s youngest learners. And you are welcome to join in the grand opening festivities.

MRH Early Childhood Center will host the Grand Opening of the play space called the Children’s Park on Tuesday, Sept. 28, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. ECC families will be bringing their own picnic dinners, and other families are welcome to join them. At the Grand Opening, families will have a chance to experience nature together, and plant the first seeds of the wildflower prairie.

The play space is designed to contest the style of typical outdoor play structures. A call for physical activity is rooted in the design. However, the emphasis embraces a natural arena for learning. Most of the structures used are made of organic materials like wood, rock, water, and sand.

MRH ECC follows the Reggio Emilia approach to learning and utilizes the environment as the third teacher. The non-traditional park implements elements that weave cohesive connections from the natural world to the sustainable community. “This park, unlike a conventional playground, is designed to engage children in active, creative play,” said Linda Henke, MRH superintendent.

This spring, MRH received a $25,000 donation from William Anheuser Trust, which provided the seed money for initiating the work. The money paid for the bridge, arbors, and magical tower. Preparation of the grounds and correction of drainage issues was paid for by Proposition Y, the construction bond passed by voters in April of this year. The project has also received additional funds, including over $1,000 raised by the Marino family at last summer's lemonade stand (see the July 22, 2009 news story).

In addition, the district was able to partner with Arthur Floyd and Carolyn Greene, two professional architects who also happen to be parents of ECC students. “They donated their time and expertise, and really worked with us to design this learning space,” said ECC Principal Cyndi Hebenstreit.

For more information, contact MRH School District at (314) 644-4400.