Jeff Humphrey

Parks Help Kids Prep for Kindergarten

Jeff Humphrey, Media Manager, 509.625.6308

Friday, October 21, 2022 at 9:18 a.m.

The City of Spokane’s Parks and Recreation Department, and other community organizations, are responding to the need to help more youngsters get ready for their first time in the classroom.

“Eighty-five percent of a child’s brain develops by the time they reach kindergarten, and only 44 percent of our kids, in this region, are kindergarten ready,” warns John Dickson, CEO of the Spokane County United Way.

Studies show, in some Spokane neighborhoods, only 10 percent of our children are prepared to take advantage of the lessons offered in kindergarten.

“And that’s why Spokane County United Way, City of Spokane Parks, and Spokane Teachers Credit Union are at Courtland Park to enhance kindergarten readiness in our region,” Dickson announced.

Courtland Park is one of five city parks where volunteers have created new educational trails for kids and their parents to follow.

“What we’re doing is, we’re installing at the Born Learning Trails. It’s a series of ten signs we’re putting up here in Courtland Park, in both English and Spanish, and the focus is on allowing parents and their children to walk through here and have a great experience together,” explained Dickson.

“As you walk through these ten signs, it’ll ask you, your child, to look at different shapes, different colors, different letters, different words. You’ll see that we’re doing some painting on the ground that will spur this discussion with you, with your child, and it is all part of developing that young brain,” Dickson said of the trails.

Several of the Born Learning Trails have taken shape in city parks adjacent to local schools like Bemiss Elementary in Hillyard.

That’s where Principal Rachel Sherwood welcomes a new way of helping children develop the fundamentals they need to learn.

“And, when kids learn, when they are playing, it sticks better. So they’re going to learn their numbers, they’re going to practice movements that are important for their developmental stages, and colors and shapes, and all of that will be done, and they won’t even know there are learning techniques taking place. And, our own kids, during school days, can come out and access this place, and it will reinforce what they’re doing in the classroom in a really fun and engaging way,” detailed Sherwood.

Look for Spokane’s new Born Learning Trails inside Courtland, Franklin, Audubon, Mission and Grant parks.

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