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Educating children. Empowering families. Enriching community.

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BE A PART OF THE FUTURE OF HOLY FAMILY DAY HOME!

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We are seeking to update the outdoor play yard with new structures and play environments that will provide rich opportunities for our children to develop physically and cognitively. These improvements will be in the interest of keeping our equipment up to safety standards, replacing worn-out items, and bringing in new designs that reflect the past decade’s advancements in early childhood development and education.

The first stage is the addition of a beautiful and naturalistic hillside slide and tunnel structure. It will encourage our children to climb a slope for better exercise, and add variety to the otherwise flat terrain. If everyone in our community contributes $50 towards the project, we will be able to begin the first stage of renovation this spring! This will allow us to have the hillside slide ready for the incoming class of children in 2020.

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Footprint of hill and slide, featuring climbing holds

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A LEGACY OF PROGRESSIVE EDUCATION

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1900-1950s

From the start, the Sisters of the Holy Family were focused on providing families a rich learning environment and curriculum for the development and education of their children. They created an education model based on the Kindergarten method—virtually unknown in California at the time—that was grounded in research on early childhood development, and which encouraged activities that related to the developmental milestones of different age groups. For outdoor play, the Kindergarten method introduced a forerunner to playgrounds, “sand gardens,” that provided space for multi-use, imaginitive sensory play.

Considerable thought has always been given as to what kind of environment Holy Family Day Home would provide its children. When Virginia Fair Vanderbilt helped the Sisters rebuild the Home after the 1906 earthquake, she worked with architect Willis Polk to ensure that “special attention be given to the needs of the children,” including half steps to accommodate little legs and “nearly all of the rooms be very large and flooded with sunshine, so that the tots may have ideal places to spend their young days.”

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1950-2000s

As the field of early childhood education developed, so did ideas and regulations on what constituted a safe and stimulating environment for learning. The first playgrounds for children appeared in the early 20th century as a civic solution to the cramped quarters and social isolation of urban environments—problems which persist today. These playgrounds developed over the next century to incorporate new research on childhood development and learning, social behaviors, and safety. They became standard in schoolyards and part of schools’ fitness programs.

Play structures are important pieces of our educational toolbox that help children gain the necessary cognitive, academic, and social skills to prepare them for future success.

For young children, active play is not separate from learning, but rather the platform for it. For example, the basis for early STEM learning is a process called sensory integration, in which the brain receives, processes, and organizes information from all five senses. Guided play in active, multi-use spaces like the play yard enables this kind of sensory stimulation.

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TODAY

Our Reggio Emilia-inspired curriculum prepares children to be collaborative, resilient, problem-solving members of the community. We encourage cognitive development in learning environments that allow children to explore, take risks, and expand their fine and gross motor development, which can be most effectively learned through outdoor play. We are striving to update our outdoor yard to include structures that invite specific physical challenges, but remain open to multiple uses and imaginative play. It will also conform to the highest standards of safety,

You can help carry on the progressive legacy of Holy Family Day Home by investing in the renovation of our outdoor play yard. Together, we can ensure our children will continue to “have the ideal places to spend their young days.”

Play yard renovations will focus on creating a more varied environment that evokes the learning possibilities of a natural landscape. It will feature a hillside slide that will encourage children to climb up and down a slope, thereby getting better exercise than they would on a flat surface and more quickly developing their gross motor skills. It will also add beauty and interest to the space, encouraging children to explore its learning possibilities.

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Left: Obstacle course playground proposal. Right: Hillside slide proposal.

WITH YOUR HELP, WE CAN COMPLETE RENOVATIONS IN 2020!