“Education.” Many of us automatically think “school” when we hear that word. But learning happens everywhere, especially for young children. And in our effort to cut the number of high school drop outs in half, United Way supports early childhood learning in diverse ways: through reading programs, book drives of course, but also in parks and on playgrounds.
That’s right – learning while playing. United Way’s national engagement campaign, Born Learning, helps parents, caregivers and communities use everyday moments outdoors to boost school readiness of children in their preschool years. The quality of children’s early learning experiences is critical to success in school and consequently, in life. Perhaps the most visible components of Born Learning campaign is the Born Learning Trail. The trail features age-appropriate, simple-to-construct activities that can be set up outdoors or inside. Ten games on engaging signs that are placed along the trail help parents and caregivers create learning opportunities for young children.
This month, United Way in Waukesha County (WI) is building its seventh Born Learning Trail in the past year, and aims to build a total of ten trails in the county. United Way in Waukesha County secured corporate sponsors for each of the trails and coordinated purchasing materials, installing the instructional signs and setting up and painting stencils. More than 150 volunteers from seven companies, the Waukesha County park systems and elsewhere helped build the trails. Ribbon cutting ceremonies celebrated the collaborative effort and included parents and children who will use the trails throughout the year.
The photo above gives an idea of what kids think of the trails. Here’s what one volunteer had to say about the experience:
The Born Learning Trail was a very rewarding and positive experience for all of us here at We Energies. Our employees enjoyed the project from the onset to fruition; building teamwork and camaraderie. Working with the United Way to improve the communities where we live and work provides an invaluable and rewarding experience. Making a difference matters!
Karin Poznanski - Executive Assistant, We Energies
Many thanks to We Energies and the other sponsors of the Waukesha County Born Learning Trails:
Waukesha Family Practice Center (with support from ProHealth and the Medical College of Wisconsin)
Every child is born learning. Together, we help children love to keep learning – at home, at school, and at play – well into adulthood and throughout productive and happy lives. Together, we can improve the quality of life for all. Together, we can Live United.