If there’s one thing center director Julie Skaja wants her KinderCare families to know, it’s that community service isn’t just important to her; it’s also an essential lesson she wants to teach the children in her center.
“I’m all about giving back to the community,” she says.
While looking for ways to help her students become more active in South Elgin, Illinois, Julie discovered the town’s adopt-a-park program, in which local groups help maintain their favorite park through anything from cleaning up trash to planting flowers. Since she’d already scheduled field trips for the school-age children to nearby Stowell-Peddy Park, the program seemed like the perfect fit.
“It’s a neat home base park behind a local public school,” said Julie. “Many of the children live nearby but don’t always get to go to the park because their families are busy. This was a way of showing children and families the importance of outdoor play.”
After cleaning it up, the school age class played in the park and on the swings and learned a few valuable lessons: it feels good to do something nice for others, and they don’t always need a certificate or a prize to acknowledge their work.
“They really enjoyed going,” Julie said. “The kids felt they made a difference, even without recognition, and their parents liked the idea of teaching children about responsibility and giving back through community service.”
The school-agers had so much fun they plan to continue this project throughout the school year.