Todd Bluechel, a parent at Hawthorne Elementary school in Louisville, reached out to the Children at Play Network as part of his quest to improve their play environment. Spurred by success with the Minds in Motion program that focuses on providing children with “opportunities to build strong neurological foundations by activating sensory-motor integration processes, [so that] they become positioned to learn with ease and success, and are able to reach a higher potential.” In other words, children need to move to be healthy. Movement, including play, supports education.
We don’t know yet what might be possible at Hawthorne. But we do know that building partnerships between the Children at Play Network, interested schools, evidence based programs like Minds In Motion, and school administrators focused on exploring best practices in healthy child development is a critical first step.
We came away from the meeting with work to do. We want to explore what precedents already exist for meaningful outdoor play that might match with the Minds in Motion program. We also want to begin the coalition building that helps support the changes we would like to see that gets children outside in healthy ways. Some of that work will go quickly. Some will take time. By working together and exploring the research we can make it easier for decision makers to come to “yes” as we propose well reasoned change.
Our children deserve our best thinking, our creative solutions, and our push for excellence. We will keep you posted as this moves forward. In the meantime, if you are interested in supporting outdoor play environments we invite you to make yourselves known to us. There is power in collective action.