“Allowing the young child to experience the natural world is not just a nice thing to do; it is their birthright, and is essential for their academic, physical, emotional and spiritual development." - Unknown Children need to feel pride in their surrounding community especially after the devastation brought on by hurricane Sandy. A beautifully, renovated Washington Park will certainly provide that sense of pride in their community despite the recent feelings of uncertainty they may have felt due to the shortages of electricity and gasoline. "It's dark, it's cold, will we have food to eat tomorrow?"
Now that the worst of the hurricane is behind us, let us help make our children feel a restored sense of pride in our community with the completion of Washington Park. I have had the opportunity to view the proposed improvements to the park and I feel when completed, Washington Park will be an asset in many ways to all the children in the surrounding community. Let me elaborate by saying that many children in urban areas do not have the luxury of having a large backyard and the obesity rate of our inner city children is critically on the rise. Therefore, a renovated Washington Park will provide them ample space to exercise, play, rollerblade, and bike ride, all while experiencing an environmental paradise. Students can utilize Washington Park before, during and after school. Parents will truly enjoy spending valuable time with their children in a beautifully renovated park. Zenohia Barlow once wrote, "Children are born with a sense of wonder and an affinity for nature. Properly cultivated, these values can mature into ecological literacy and eventually into sustainable patterns of living." As an educator, the proposed renovations to Washington Park can directly influence and enhance the school curriculum. Environmental studies can be integrated into our curriculum since the renovations incorporate a wide variety of tree and plant life. From an okame cherry tree to a red sunset maple, or a daffodil to a purple gem rhododendron, the students will be able to learn how to differentiate and appreciate many different species of plants and trees through the use of on-site investigation of the "new and improved" Washington Park.
The environmental additions to the park will greater expand its use from one of a sports only facility to one that includes a viable sanctuary to encourage environmental studies. The type of experiences that our children will receive from the renovations to Washington Park will promote a greater sense of family appreciation and involvement, healthier students, greater educational success and a true respect for our place in nature. Renovating Washington Park is an educational win for the children of our community, let's work together to get it done right away!
Principal Thomas A. Edison School Union City