Natural Playground at Head Start Center

CEHHS faculty joined community volunteers to install a new natural playground at the North Head Start Center. The playground will give students a new recreation area and provide researchers with an opportunity to study the environment’s impact on children’s activity levels. The effort is part of the Partners through Playgrounds project, a combined effort of the Departments of Child and Family Studies and Kineisiology, Recreation, and Sport Studies. The project will study how urban playscapes impact children’s activity levels and play styles.

Lessons learned from the creation of a natural playscape and outdoor classrooms at the Early Learning Center and earlier studies on the center’s children’s activity levels will be replicated at the local Head Start center serving ninety children.

The goal is to increase activity levels among young Head Start children who are at risk for obesity and related diseases. New playground elements will be installed including boulders, large walking logs, stepping stones, a gazebo, and a garden to transform a traditional urban playground. See WATE’s coverage of the new playground at tiny.utk.edu/playground.

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