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Children and parents invited to experience a “Pop-Up Adventure Playground”: A one day, free community event centered on learning and fun

Nov 18, 2016

Summit School invites the community to a free event for families with children of all ages, to experience a unique, open-ended, play-based experience that allows children’s creativity and ingenuity to soar.

A “Pop-Up Adventure Playground” awaits your family on December 3rd, from 10am to 2pm, on the campus of Summit School, near 46th street and Chandler Blvd in Ahwatukee.   Families from Phoenix, Chandler, Tempe, Gilbert, Ocotillo and the Ahwatukee / Foothills are all welcome!

A Pop-Up Adventure Playground provides an extensive supply of “loose parts” which are materials that can be combined, moved, carried, redesigned, lined up, and taken apart and put back together in multiple ways. They are materials with no specific set of directions that can be used alone or combined with others like large boxes, cardboard tubes, fabric, yarn, rocks, sticks, boxes, tires, markers, tape, and so, so much more.  Children are invited to take home their creations.

This free community event is literally popping up all over the globe, Cairo, Shanghai, Mexico City, New York. The December 3rd event is the first in Phoenix, and will be provided free of charge through a partnership between Treasures4Teachers, Pop-Up Adventure Play and Summit School.

“These events are a fantastic way for people of all ages to come together,” exclaims Morgan Leichter-Saxby, Co-Founder of Pop-Up Adventure Play. “Play is so important for children’s growth and development and for their happiness.  Pop-up adventure playgrounds are also a fun way to bridge our differences within the community and connect on a deep level, sending a clear message that you don’t need money to play!”

“Summit School is thrilled to work with Treasures4Teachers to host this experience,” exudes Andrea Benkel, the Director of Early Childhood Education. “Loose Parts Play is the foundation for critical thinking and creativity and is the original “Maker Space.”  As a NAEYC accredited preschool and an elementary and middle school devoted to teaching critical thinking skills for all students, we celebrate the “minimakers” in all children and look forward to the engineers, scientists, artists, mathematicians and technology innovators that will have their visions come to life at this event!”

Leading the quest to provide this important play-based learning experience for children in our community is Barbara Blalock, Founder and Executive Director of Treasures 4 Teachers.  “Pop-Up Adventure Playgrounds are truly a gift for children and families.  We are on a mission to educate parents on the value of play; especially child directed play, using wonderful materials called “loose parts” which are materials that have no specific outcome other than to build on a child’s imagination.”

Blalock is a leader in our community who has worked tirelessly to enhance educational opportunities to children. She is a former educator, who was later employed to help preschools bring the quality of their programming up to a level required to earn national accreditation through the NAEYC.

In 2004, Blalock witnessed a student having to use her shoe as collateral for a pencil, because the teacher didn’t have enough pencils.  That day, she realized she needed to do something to help teachers who often don’t have even the basic supplies they need for their students. Armed with only her passion and her now emptied Ahwatukee garage, she began Treasures 4 Teachers, a creative reuse center for teachers to get the supplies they need for free or at a low cost, so their students can be successful.

Always thinking big, Blalock was inaugural success was securing donations from Intel, Motorola, the NFL and Goodrich. Today a plethora of local business, schools and private donors keep a 12,000 square foot facility filled in Tempe, serving thousands of teachers and students.

The December 3rd event volunteers will include Summit School students from Spanish Honors Society, National Junior Honors Society, 8th grade ambassadors, and 5th graders who have applied and earned the designation of “self managers”, a leadership position earned by demonstrating strong abilities to independently and successfully manage activities and school. These Summit 5th graders will be entrepreneurs for the day, with the goal of organizing and building a profitable business to sell snacks at the event. Students will select a business name, procure a healthy food choice to sell, set price points, design signage, and create a work schedule. Their profits will be donated to a charity.

How important is play-based learning? To quote a famous supporter of children, the beloved Mr. Rogers: “Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning.”

Summit School is located at 4515 E. Muirwood Drive, one black south of Chandler Blvd on the corner of 46th street and Muirwood Dr.

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