4 county preschools earn seed grants to create outdoor learning areas

Staff report
Posted 7/9/18

Four early childhood learning centers in Arapahoe County have been selected as Colorado Early Childhood Health Outdoors seed grant sites. Healthy, natural and affordable are the foundations of the …

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4 county preschools earn seed grants to create outdoor learning areas

Posted

Four early childhood learning centers in Arapahoe County have been selected as Colorado Early Childhood Health Outdoors seed grant sites.

Healthy, natural and affordable are the foundations of the ECHO program, and they are the values that drive ECHO’s mission for all children in Colorado to have daily access to quality outdoor learning environments, said a news release.

Bethany Busy Bee Preschool, Bright Beginnings Learning Center Inc., Cherry Creek Presbyterian Preschool and Joshua Early Childhood Center will each receive $5,000 to use toward the creation of a naturalized outdoor learning environment, landscape design assistance and support, ongoing training and technical support.

Each ECHO seed grant site will work collaboratively with selected ECHO Demonstration Sites to learn best practices in outdoor learning environments and ways to naturalize their outdoor spaces.

ECHO is based on a decade of research by North Carolina State University’s Natural Learning Initiative on the Preventing Obesity by Design model, the news release said. This research showed that, by improving the design of outdoor spaces through affordable interventions and providing hands-on training for early childhood professionals to actively engage children in these outdoor spaces, young children and early childhood programs see substantial benefits, the release said.

ECHO is a partnership between the National Wildlife Federation, Qualistar Colorado, and the Natural Learning Initiative. ECHO seed grant sites were selected from a competitive pool of applicants.

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