Next spring, Houstonians and their little ones will have a new learning and play space to frequent right here in the heart of Hermann Park. This new play space – geared towards children of all ages – is all thanks to a $100,000 grant from the PNC Foundation.
As part of our ongoing efforts to renovate the park and provide unique new features to the community, we are actually removing and relocating our main playground. Upon realizing that we’d be leaving the park without a dedicated space for children to play for a period of time, we teamed up with PNC to create a smaller outdoor learning and play space that will bridge the gap when our original playground is removed.
But, this smaller playground isn’t your typical jungle gym. This playground focuses on providing children, including younger children, with choices that encourage not only physical play, but also provides sensory experiences that help develop cognitive function. This unique environment encourages children to use all five senses and helps develop their fine and gross motor skills through challenging, nature-based interactives.
Over the years, research has demonstrated the value of nature-based play in early childhood development. In fact, exposure to nature-based play has shown consistent positive impacts on children’s physical activity outcomes and cognitive behavior, as well as evidence of improved critical thinking skills, social skills and creativity. With these positive developmental outcomes in mind, it only makes sense for us to bring this type of environment to one of Houston’s largest green spaces.
As a longtime supporter of high quality early childhood education, PNC is providing grant funding to help build this innovative outdoor play space through the PNC Foundation’s $500 million early childhood education initiative, PNC Grow Up Great®. This new space will remain operational even after the renovation on the larger playground is complete, and will have a special name which will be unveiled in the coming months.
“Research shows that access to nature and green space enhances learning and long-term outcomes for young children, and as champions of high quality early childhood education across our footprint, we are thrilled to be partnering with Hermann Park to bring this new interactive play space to life to benefit the entire Houston community,” said Julie Sudduth, PNC regional president for Houston.
We will be sharing project updates throughout the coming months so be sure to follow us on the Hermann Park social media pages to remain up to date.
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