Written by Jordan Sakal
Willimantic, Conn. - The Child and Family Development Resource Center at Eastern Connecticut State University unveiled two new climbing walls for use by the center's preschoolers. One wall is located inside the facility and the other is in the main playground area.
According to Darren Robert, professor of health and physical education, "Over the past decade of professional physical education, I have noticed a low degree of upper body strength among preschool children."
The goal of the rock walls, according to Robert, is to increase the amount of outdoor playtime for the children so that they will have access to exercise activities that improve their upper body strength and overall physical conditioning. Rules and policies regarding the correct and safe use of the rock walls have been taught to all of the professionals on staff at the early childhood center and the children have been told the rules regarding the walls to keep both themselves and the faculty out of harm's way.
Students in Eastern's Education and Health and Physical Education programs work with the children of the center in order to provide educational experiences for both the children and themselves. Professional educators who teach preschool at the CFDRC and serve its 68 students will also make use of the new rock walls. Using the walls' magnetic surface, the teachers will be able to display numbers and letters as a fun way to interact with the students and use the new materials at their disposal.
The overall impact of the rock walls' on children's learning has yet to be measured but a bright future awaits the students of the CFDRC, as they have fun, develop cognitive skills and, strengthen their physical conditioning all at the same time.