The University of Louisiana at Monroe Child Development Center was recently recognized as an Honorable Mention winner in the Southern Early Childhood Association’s “Exemplary Outdoor Classroom Contest.”
This year’s contest theme was “Creating a Nature-Inspired Outdoor Learning Environment on a Shoestring Budget.”
According to Emily Williamson, director of the ULM Child Development Center, the judges evaluated how the outdoor learning environments were creatively designed for learning with the expenditure of very little funds. ULM creatively designed their outdoor learning area with donated items from parents and the community. An outdoor music center was created with pots, pans, and cast off percussion instruments. Bread trays were used to create weaving boards, and donated concrete pavers were recycled to make a hop scotch game.
Williamson stated, “I am proud that we were able to recycle and give items new life in our outdoor learning environments.”
The grand-prize winner was Agapeland Youth Enrichment Program in Marion, S.C., and the runner-up was The Child Development and Family Studies Center in Starkville, Miss.
St. Martin’s Episcopal School in Atlanta, Ga., and Lifespan Montessori of Athens, Inc. in Athens, Ga. received Honorable Mention awards alongside the ULM CDC.
The winning programs will be featured in the winter 2013 issue of “Dimensions of Early Childhood.” Awards will be presented at the 2014 SECA Annual Conference in Williamsburg, Va.
More about the Southern Early Childhood Association:
According to their website, since 1948, the Southern Early Childhood Association (SECA) has brought together preschool, kindergarten, and primary teachers and administrators, caregivers, program directors, and individuals working with and for families to promote quality care and education for young children across the south.
Over 20,000 individuals working in every aspect of child care and early childhood belong to SECA. They share ideas in local, state, and regional meetings, in professional development institutes, and through the association's publications and resources. Members receive many benefits, including a quarterly journal, Dimensions of Early Childhood, and discounts on publications and conference registration.