The Outdoor Library is one of three learning centers provided with the grant. Creating natural spaces that connect to literacy and scientific inquiry is the primary objective of FLIP THIS PLAYGROUND.
At Valley of the Sun (VSECA.org), we connect classrooms and school communities with the power of outdoor learning. Transforming hardscape playgrounds into natural learning spaces provides teachers with the right environment to make learning socially charged and fun! Research in child development and learning is clear. Children learn deeply when physically and emotionally engaged. We pay attention when our senses are heightened.
FLIP THIS PLAYGROUND provides outdoor libraries, unique gardens, music centers, unusual pathways and small group centers which support foundational literacy and scientific inquiry – linking Literacy with Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.
FLIP THIS PLAYGROUND is more than just changing the outdoor environment. The focus of the initiative is professional learning. In this, we are supporting teachers in the transformation of practice by bringing traditional classroom activities outdoors and then bringing natural, found materials (rocks, leaves, flowers, insects) back into the indoor classroom. All classrooms receive digital microscopes, allowing young learners to see small worlds up close. We are getting rid of worksheets and engaging children in real hands-on, full body learning and development. Making the learning real, meaningful and enjoyable.
2019-2020 PROJECT: The 2019-2020 school year focus was on Sunrise Elementary in Phoenix, a Title I school within the Deer Valley School District. Three Head Start preschool classrooms with be affected by improvements to the playground. An outdoor library, water feature in the sandbox and Mariposa garden have been installed in collaboration with Deer Valley United School District, school families and local landscapers.
2020-2021 PROJECT: The 2020-2021 school year focus is on Lattie Coor Elementary in Avondale, a Title I school within the Avondale Elementary School District. Nearly 300 students will be enjoy the new Mariposa Outdoor Library designed by their teachers. Here is an image of the installation of gardens and library house:
All of the Head Start students qualify for Federal Free or Reduced Price Lunch (RPL), meeting Federal poverty guidelines for income eligibility of 100% or below the poverty line.