New age-appropriate playground at YMCA center

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- The YMCA Child Care Center has received a new age-appropriate outdoor playground thanks to an anonymous gift that was matched by local organizations.

The anonymous matching gift of $15,000 came through the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation and was matched by the Adivans Fund.

The playground is specifically designed for preschool age children, with separate spaces for children 12 to 24 months of age, children two to three years old, and four- and five-year-old children.

“I continue to be inspired by the generosity and passion of our donors,” said Brennan Gould, the president and CEO of CACF. “This project is a wonderful way to directly impact the experiences of our youngest community members.”

The new playground is at the Jefferson School.

“Playgrounds are vital for a child's cognitive, emotional, physical and social development,” said Missy Corbin, the director of the child care program. “Research shows that many of the fundamental milestones that children must achieve, such as exploring, risk-taking, fine and gross motor development can be most effectively learned through outdoor play.”

The playground is not the only change at the YMCA Child Care Center, which was also selected as a pilot for the STREAMin3 Curriculum, a program from the University of Virginia Curry School.

The program focuses on five core skills, relate, regulate, think, communicate and move, that form the building blocks for later learning.

It also works on six STREAM skills, science, technology, reading, engineering, art and math, to prepare children for success when they enter school.

The child care center serves about 180 preschool age children each year, focusing on affordable options for early childhood education by partnering with local subsidy providers such as the United Way and the Department of Social Services.

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