Today’s hurried lifestyles, technological distractions, and schedules filled with structured activities often mean children spend little time playing outdoors in unstructured, sensory-rich environments that can help calm their minds, open their imaginations, and focus their attention. A 2007 report from the American Academy of Pediatrics warned of the decline in children’s spontaneous and creative play – a decline which can negatively impact children’s language development, collaborative social skills, and motor coordination and balance. At the same time, children are missing the numerous benefits of outdoor play, including experiences that help heighten awareness and exercise observational and reasoning abilities, which can ultimately improve academic skills and cognitive development.
In 2008, Concord early childhood care and education provider Concord Children’s Center began taking steps to respond to this concern by crafting a vision for a nature-based playground and park on town land at Ripley. This vision has evolved into a community space for all ages and physical abilities – the Playscape at Ripley, a park situated in a beautiful, historic setting in East Concord which reflects the town's longstanding commitment to environmental appreciation and stewardship.
Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books. John Lubbock
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