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Examiner
  • Little students get outdoor learning space

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  • Cub Care Learning Center students in Blue Springs will be learning outside a whole lot more.
    The preschool, which is part of the Blue Springs District’s Hall-McCarter Education Center at 5000 N.W. Valley View Road in Blue Springs, held a ribbon cutting ceremony Thursday that opened an outdoor classroom.
    According to Cub Care director Rhonda Malone, the classroom is a first of its kind for children aged 6 weeks to 6 years in the district. Early education and pre-K programs at Cub Care will rotate and share the new outside classroom. The classroom allows for more active learning, such as gardening, musical performances and theatrical plays for students. It consists of a wide terrace, playground equipment, garden plot and log cabin playhouses for social development at the south side of Hall-McCarter.
    Malone said the classroom will be beneficial for student learning, especially in math, science and literacy.
    “Research shows that children improve in four areas of development by learning outside, as opposed to one area indoors,” she said.
    The four areas of development are cognitive ability, gross motor skills (throwing, running), fine motor skills (writing, putting puzzles together) and speech and language skills, she added.
    Malone said the project was made possible through a Child Care Development Block Grant from the U.S. Department of Education and many parent and staff volunteers. She also said the idea of an outdoor classroom was proposed by Cub Care’s former secretary, Rae Meunick, who now is retired and resides in Florida.
    The outdoor classroom will be used throughout the school year and integrated with the school’s curriculum, added Malone.

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