By Austin Nikolich, Director, Sacred Heart Preschool
Sacred Heart Preschool is dedicated to creating and nurturing a play-centered curriculum for students ages 1-5. Play is part of our identity as an early learning program, and we take play very seriously. Over the course of many years we have dedicated our professional development to shifting our teaching practices, reimagining our learning spaces, redefining our role as teacher, and recreating our outdoor play spaces. CAPN has been integral throughout this shift, and the new Playcosystem at Bernheim set the perfect stage to bring our families into new play habitats. Loose parts, risk, alternating terrain, lots of “hidey spaces” and sensory experiences were the backdrop for our first Play and Picnic. We started with an invitation to explore the new Spirit Nest, while hearing about how families can support and facilitate play at home through better understanding of the play cycle.
Building community through play and nature was a much needed affair, and the Playcosystem did not disappoint. Some things overheard as the children played:
“That stick eye ball is HUUUUUGE!” (Spirit Nest), 5-year old.
“These rocks are smooth, and these are rough. You hold these, they are cookies. You eat those. I give you coffee.”, 2-yr old
“I need my shoes off for sand.”, 3-year old
“Don’t come in our castle because you’re too old (to parent). This is only for all the kids. We need to build it bigger now and make the bridge longer.”, 5-year-old
“You just start running. You go fast in the middle because it’s a hill and it makes you SO FAST! Let’s race!”, 3 and 5-year-old brothers