We create natural spaces that connect literacy and scientific inquiry – 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.
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.
2021-2022 PROJECT: The 2021-2022 Mariposa Library Garden project includes five installation sites at Title I schools in Maricopa County. The collaboration includes: Alhambra USD- Maryville Elementary; Premier Children’s Center in Phoenix; Peoria USD – Desert Palms Elementary; ICFC Head Start in Phoenix, and Avondale ESD – Lattie Coor Westside Head Start. All of these programs are joining the Desert Botanical Gardens Great Milkweed Grow Out project.
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:
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.
All of the Title I students qualify for Federal Free or Reduced Price Lunch (RPL), meeting Federal poverty guidelines for income eligibility of 100% or below the poverty line.