1/31/12- second semester begins

We met this morning at Children’s House in Holyoke; the class has added a new student, so now there are a total of six “collaborators” (from Smith and Springfield College) as we move forward. My goal for this semester is to shift the focus over to real interaction and service for the pre-schools. Now that the first semester has been spent looking at a wide range of issues related to children’s play and motor development, we are ready to try to make a difference. I am also hoping to begin to really build and develop some new designs for equipment, but there are other roles for the students who don’t have enough access to tools and a shop to work on building things. The students will be working from a “menu” of choices and each will develop their own mix of these topics to work on…

1) observation and documentation of play; including video, photography and interviews with children, teachers and parents at Children’s House, the Holyoke preschool and Nonotuck. How does indoor/ outdoor play differ at the different sites?
2) Ongoing consultation to Nonotuck pre-school; to assess the effectiveness of the exercise book completed last semester; revisions to improve it’s success with the staff and children, and eventually share these ideas through the website
3) observation and documentation of play sites in the local community; compile a listing/ reviews of the “best places for pre-school children to play” ; with specifics regarding safety, cost, equipment available (swings, climbers, etc)
4) Equipment reviews; choose a piece of equipment under $40. Purchase it, (we can cover the cost) and write a review of how it worked with children.
5) Visit a company that builds play equipment; write about the history of the equipment and the people who designed it
6) Training video for motor activities; video and editing for the small group activities used at the pre-schools in Holyoke, using step stools, beach ball, etc for use on the website. I need help with this!!!
7) Equipment Design; choose a specific motor activity and design an inexpensive piece of equipment to encourage/ help make this happen. The total materials cost should not exceed $100.
8) Set up a meeting with the licensure/ inspectors who regulate the indoor play equipment in our area; write an article that explains their perspective on safety in local pre-schools
9) Improve the boginplayscapeproject.com website; explore how to make the website more useful for students, teachers, parents;
10) Explore the research completed by management students last semester; ongoing reading of articles and materials collected ; adding to the research by finding new sources and ideas that are available
11) Exploring of specific new ideas for children’s play; the Holyoke Children’s museum recently purchased a new play system using large foam blocks that children can assemble in a large open space. Explore the design, and examine how children play with it. Are there other new ideas out there for interesting low cost play systems??

The morning sessions went well. It felt great to be back seeing pre-school kids again, and we appreciate Children’s House warm welcome!!!

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