The Aurora Learning Landscapes is part of a national movement to create convenient, accessible opportunities for parents and caregivers to engage in meaningful learning with young children in public spaces where they work, play and live. With a $150,000 Dunham Fund grant ($150,000 over 2 years; $75,000 per year), Aurora Learning Landscapes seeks to become a pioneer in the movement as one of three pilot programs in the state of Illinois.
The mission is to convert moments typically devoid of stimulation into exciting learning experiences for children up to age 5. A bus stop bench, for example, would be converted into a puzzle with life-size pieces, transforming an uneventful wait into an exercise in curiosity and exploration. Also… embedding hop scotch steps in neighborhood sidewalks that turn a routine walk into a symphony of happy kids’ feet.
Research strongly indicates preschool age children learn through play – it’s their natural tendency. Yet, in the last two decades, children have lost an average of 8 hours of free playtime per week. By supporting families’ efforts to engage with young children, they are better prepared for learning and success in kindergarten and beyond.