BANGOR, Maine — Head Start Body Start National Center for Physical Development and Outdoor Play awarded grants to seven Penquis Child Development Centers for enhancements to outdoor play spaces. The total amount was $35,000.
Penquis Child Development is celebrating the completion of playground improvements at each Head Start location. Three of the Head Start Centers are located in the Bangor area and the others are in Old Town, Guilford, Newport and Newburgh. Each center received $5,000 to upgrade playgrounds.
Items purchased for the outdoor play space at Eastern Maine Community College include binoculars, bird feeders, Critter Cabins, nature activity kits and a classroom thermometer.
In Guilford, SAD 4 and Penquis Pre-K purchased a double-sided Paint Station that provides children opportunities for creative expression. Another feature enhancing the sensory environment of the play space in Guilford is the Maine Buoy Bell wind chimes. These chimes are handcrafted of metal and mimic the sounds of the various buoys in Maine waters. Other purchases include snowshoes to provide physical activity for children in winter.
Many of the locations added a stage for imaginative play, cedar balance beams, river rocks and tree slices, otherwise known as tree cookies, to provide children a place to jump, skip and balance while still preserving the natural appearance.
In addition to the play space improvement, each award-winning Head Start Center will have access to online courses, webinars and resource materials. The Head Start Body Start National Center for Physical Development and Outdoor Play was created through a federal grant to the National Association for Sport and Physical Education and the American Association for Physical Activity and Recreation from the Office of Head Start.