Over the summer, I received noticed that my big idea was selected as one of the first place prize winners. There are 5 first place winners that were granted $1,000 for their idea and one grand prize winner who is awarded $5,000. I was so excited! Paper work was submitted and the check was sent mid-February. It was very fun searching for toys kids would enjoy playing with. My students were the first to try out the toys. Many of the DonorsChoose.org projects I submitted all had the intentions of being used during our Family Center Night. The friends and family challenge $3,000 gift card certainly helped with this event.
Many of our kids come from immigrant families and do not have many opportunities to experience events such as these. I believe play has great benefits for children but it's often overlooked and is considered low priority as a child advances to the upper grades. Pre-K has play centers everyday. The growth, development, and changes I see in my students is tremendous. Socialization, risk-taking, communication, and confidence are some of the areas I see changes in most. My Big Idea was to host a play centers at our school once a month. Kids and their families would come and enjoy a night of free play. Activities range from LEGO, Lincoln logs, train tracks, dollhouse, K'NEX, connector straws, and many other fun toys. On April 29th, we hosted our first family center night. It was a great turn out and I believe it has room to become even bigger.
Kids were allowed to switch centers whenever they pleased. The number of children present was overwhelming, but there was a certain calm that's indescribable.