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New outdoor space expands learning opportunities for early childhood families

new outdoor classroom(6/26/23) After more than a year of planning, phase one of Riverview Early Childhood Center’s new outdoor classroom area is complete. The first group of children and parents were able to use the new space starting the second week of June.

The Early Childhood Family Education program (ECFE) formed a Parent Nature Advisory team to come up with ideas for the outdoor space in Brooklyn Park.

“I feel that it’s really exciting that they get to have a say in it because it’s their kids that are going to grow in this program,” said parent educator Penny Walsh.

Then, with the help of 3Owls Play Consultants from Duluth, and a locally owned landscaping company, J’s Lawn and Landscape Inc., the dream became reality.

What was once weeds and dandelions is now a well-thought out play area to host outdoor classes. New features include a sensory trail, a water-pump station, kid-size picnic tables, updated garden beds, concrete paths, a log stage, climbing structures and a giant sandbox. Plants and 24 new birch, maple and pine trees were also planted.

Phase two will likely include a spiderweb swing, a hammock village, a sledding hill, a natural water feature and a giant tree trunk to climb on.

Take a look at the newly-renovated play area at Riverview by watching this short video.